Craig Thompson earned his first World Cup medal to maintain the momentum behind British skeleton ahead of February’s World Championships.
The 28-year-old took silver in Innsbruck behind European champion Alexander Tretiakov, with fellow Brits Marcus Wyatt and Matt Weston finishing fifth and 11th respectively.
Thompson’s first run of 52.80s placed him just two-hundredths of a second behind Tretiakov and a time of 53.02s second time around left the Swindon-born star in the lead with one slider to come.
Tretiakov denied Thompson gold but that did little to take the shine off a terrific display by Thompson, upgrading his personal best of fifth.
“It’s a great feeling. I’ve been close before but this is something special,” he said.
“I watched Marcus and Matt win medals earlier this season and I knew I was capable of matching them so it’s great to have done that. There’s nothing like standing on the podium knowing the hard work is paying off.
“It shows what I’m capable of and it’s obviously a big boost ahead of the World Championships next month.
“It’s been a really good season so far – for the team as well as me personally. I’m not the sort of person who gets carried away and I know there’s loads more work ahead but things are starting to look good for Beijing in a year’s time and that’s the big aim.”
The runners-up spot marked Thompson’s fourth top seven finish in six races this season as he joined Wyatt and Weston in becoming a World Cup medallist for the first time in 2020/21.
Wyatt claimed bronze in the second race of the season in Sigulda in November, with Weston picking up silver at Innsbruck in December.
Thompson’s blistering display at the same venue ensured he finishes 12th overall in the World Cup standings on 946 points.
Wyatt was the highest-placed overall finisher of the British trio, taking eighth with 1,0008 points – 14 above Weston in ninth.
Thompson was not the only British competitor to set a new World Cup personal best at Innsbruck, with Brogan Crowley doing likewise in the women’s contest.
Crowley finished fifth in 1:48.61, 0.88 seconds behind winner Nikita Elena, to rapidly upgrade the ninth place she earned in Koenigsee and set a second personal best finish in as many weeks.
Laura Deas was eighth in 1:48.82, with Ashleigh Pittaway claiming 10th in 1:49.31 on a successful day for the British skeleton team.
With February 4 marking one year until Beijing 2022 gets underway, the British squad will be eager to continue their impressive form at the World Championships in Altenberg, Germany, between February 11-13.
Source: Team GB