Canada's bobsleigh pilot Christine de Bruin at the start of the women's monobob race at the Bobsleigh and Skeleton World Championships in Altenberg, Germany, Saturday, Feb.13, 2021. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

Canadian bobsledder De Bruin wins her second gold medal of the season in Latvia

SIGULDA, Latvia — Canadian bobsledder Christine de Bruin captured her second gold medal of the season, winning the monobob at a World Cup on Saturday.

The 32-year-old from Stoney Plain, Alta., felt fortunate to be able to race at all.

The Canadian bobsled team was hit hard by a COVID-19 outbreak earlier this week, with 11 athletes and three coaches in isolation.

“What a crazy week,” de Bruin said. “I don’t even know where to begin. I was very grateful that I was able to compete and to be able to go down the track for 54 seconds and not have to think about COVID or what’s happening with my team.”

De Bruin was the lone Canadian woman available to race.

“Today was really about pure enjoyment of bobsledding and it turned into a win which was a bonus,” she said.

De Bruin, who also won in Altenberg, Germany on Dec. 18, set a track record of 53.77 seconds on her second run Saturday, and won with a two-run combined time of one minute 48.12 seconds. She climbed to first in the overall World Cup standings with the victory.

“This track is a lot of fun and requires your attention the whole time,” de Bruin said. “There are a lot of corners where you can end up on your head, and I like the challenge of that.”

Breeana Walker of Austria was second Saturday, while Russia’s Nadezhda Sergeeva claimed bronze.

Canada’s Justin Kripps and Ryan Sommer were fourth in the two-man event.

Russians Rostislav Gaitiukevich and Mikhail Mordasov won the race, while Brad Hall and Greg Cackett of Britain were second, and Benjamin Maier and Markus Sammer of Austria third.

The Canadian team decided to stay in Latvia over the holiday break to train and minimize COVID-19 travel risks.

Sunday features a two-man and another two-man race.