Latvia's Dukurs, Britain's Yarnold win World Cup skeleton openers

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LAKE PLACID, New York — Latvia's Martins Dukurs and brother Tomass Dukurs swept the first two spots of the World Cup men's skeleton in the season-opening event on Friday.

Matt Antoine of the U.S. was third on his home track at Mount Van Hoevenberg.

Olympic champion Lizzie Yarnold of Britain won the women's race by a wide margin over Canada's Elisabeth Vathje and Austrian veteran Janine Flock.

Martins Dukurs, who dominated the World Cup circuit last season but struggled in Lake Placid, more than atoned with the fastest heats in both runs of the men's competition. His combined time of 1 minute, 47.42 seconds was 0.30 seconds ahead of Tomass Dukurs and 0.44 seconds better than Antoine.

Much of the difference in the men's race was the start. Martins Dukurs' two starts were a combined 0.30 seconds better than Antoine's. Kyle Tress was fifth and Stephen Garbett had a strong second run to finish 10th overall for the U.S.

In the women's race, Yarnold was dominant with the best runs in both heats, finishing in 1:51.13. Vathje was 0.77 seconds back, and Flock was 0.91 seconds off the pace.

With longtime U.S. women's skeleton sliders Noelle Pikus-Pace (retired) and Katie Uhlaender (recovering from ankle surgery) off the circuit, the American side was led by Savannah Graybill — who was 10th after the first run, then had the second-fastest time in the second heat and wound up fifth overall.

American Annie O'Shea was ninth.

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