Mighty Monty shows manners as well as passion

Sat Feb 20, 2010 1:59am EST
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By Simon Evans

WHISTLER (Reuters) - It tells you something about his character that Canadian gold medal winner Jon Montgomery apologized to his rival Martins Dukurs after pipping the Latvian to the top of the podium by just 0.07 seconds on Friday.

Having made a superb slide, as the penultimate man to go, the flame-haired and bearded Montgomery stood and watched as Dukurs made a run that could have turned him into Latvia's first Winter Games winner.

But Dukurs, who has been outstanding all week, got his line badly wrong on his last run and handed victory to Montgomery, who responded by punching the air and roaring his delight to a celebrating Canadian crowd.

"I had said at the beginning of the race that if I was in that position and I did get gold coming from behind that I was going to remain stoic and respectful because you never want to cheer when somebody else loses.

"But I have to apologize to Martins, that didn't happen, I lost my mind when I saw the 0.07 come up and I was like I had stuck my finger in a light socket," he added.

Part of the reason why Montgomery could not control his excitement was a passion for the sport that remains as vibrant today as it did eight years ago when he first took up skeleton.

"You'd be without a heartbeat if you didn't get a rush going down the track at 145 kilometers an hour, listening to a crowd like that cheer for you. You'd better check yourself," said the Canadian.

"But that first run I made down the track in Calgary, eight years ago, I won't forget very easily either," the 30-year-old said.   Continued...

<p>Canada's Jon Montgomery (R) is kissed by his girlfriend Darla Deschamps after winning a gold medal in the men's skeleton event at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics in Whistler, British Columbia, February 19, 2010. REUTERS/Tony Gentile</p>