Tretiakov leads halfway through men's skeleton

The Sports NetworkFebruary 14, 2014 

Rzhanaya Polyana, Russia ( - Russia's Alexander Tretiakov leads the men's skeleton after the first two runs and American John Daly is third.

Tretiakov set a start record and track record in his first run of 55.95 seconds Friday at Sanki Sliding Center. He leads Latvia's Martins Dukurs by .56 seconds with a two-run total time of 1 minute, 51.99 seconds.

Medals will be awarded after the last two runs on Saturday.

Daly's second run of 56.67 moved him from fourth to third, 1.59 seconds behind Tretiakov and .26 seconds ahead of U.S. teammate Matthew Antoine, who is fourth.

Russia's Sergei Chudinov is fifth and Tomass Dukurs, the older of the Latvian brothers, is sixth.

The race for gold is clearly between Tretiakov and the younger Dukurs.

"They really put it down," Daly said. "Tretiakov really threw it down. It's his track, it's his time, so it was kind of expected."

Tretiakov more than doubled his lead of .23 seconds over Martins Dukurs after the first run. He earned the bronze in 2010 behind Canada's Jon Montgomery and Martins Dukurs.

Tomass Dukurs was fourth in 2010.

Montgomery was one of the home stars of the Vancouver Olympics, but did not qualify for Sochi and told The Canadian Press he was "99 percent" sure he was going to retire.

Canada has won the last two gold medals in men's skeleton, but its best slider after two runs in John Fairbairn, who is .68 seconds out of medal contention in a tie for eighth place.

The last U.S. medal in men's skeleton was Jim Shea Jr.'s gold in 2002, when the sport made its return to the Olympics at Salt Lake City after an absence of 54 years.

On Friday, Ireland's Sean Greenwood flipped onto his side after losing control early in his second run but avoided an all-out crash by muscling himself back onto his sled to finish the race. He was in last place out of 27 sliders.

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