By Patrick Vignal
WHISTLER (Reuters) - Germany survived a scary moment on the world's fastest track in the women's Olympic bobsleigh competition and endured a rare day without a medal at Whistler's Sliding Center on Wednesday.
Olympic champion Sandra Kiriasis had to be content with fourth place and European champion Cathleen Martini crashed in the fourth run of an event dominated by North Americans with a Canadian one-two and a bronze for the United States.
With two of the world's finest pilots and a reputation to defend, Germany came to the Games as strong favorites but will go home empty-handed for the first time since women's bobsleigh was introduced in the Olympic program in 2002.
Kiriasis, however, did not look for excuses.
"Of course Canada had home advantage and knew the track better but their pilots ran good lines, unlike me, and that's what made the difference," she said.
"I'm not upset about fourth place but about myself," she added. "I drove like a beginner. All four runs were bad, and also the starts."
Martini was chasing bronze when she ran into trouble entering the track's most treacherous section at curve 11.
Her sled wobbled and then rolled over at the 13th curve known at 50-50, spilling brakewoman Romy Logsch in the process.
Logsch slid down the track on her back at high speed but managed to sit up and slow down, escaping with no major injuries.
"I have a sore ankle and a bruised shoulder but given the circumstances, I'm all right," Logsch said.
Like Kiriasis, Martini did not blame the track nor anything else but simply herself.
"I took a risk with my drive and then it went wrong and in curve 13 I couldn't save it," she said.