Kelowna’s Eric Neilson would have preferred a medal at the first World Cup race of the 2013-14 skeleton season.
Still, a fifth-place showing Friday at Canada’s Olympic Park in Calgary was good enough to book a trip to Sochi for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
A top-six finish was all Neilson needed to qualify for Canada’s entry in men’s skeleton early next year in Russia.
“I wanted to podium, that was my goal but top-six for me is good. I’ll take it,” said Neilson, who lives and trains in Calgary. “This is a huge relief for me to get this off my back and I’m extremely happy. My first run was a little rough, but I’m pretty happy with things.”
Neilson clocked a two-run time of one minute, 52.97 seconds (1:52.97).
Neilson is beginning his third season on Canada’s national senior men’s skeleton team.
On the World Cup circuit, the 32-year-old Rutland grad has now posted four fifth-place efforts in his career, as well as a fourth at the worlds in Switzerland last season.