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Countdown to Sochi: Winter sports week in review

February 18, 2013 08:01 am

John Jackson is certainly charting the right trajectory towards next year's Winter Olympics.

Great Britain's number one bobsleigh driver arrived in Sochi after banking a career best fifth place at the World Championships in St Moritz earlier this month.

And he certainly seemed to take an instant liking to next year's Olympic venue, repeating the trick with his joint best World Cup finish to conclude the season ranked seventh in the world.

Lizzy Yarnold was the top-placed Brit in the women's skeleton in Sochi ranking ninth, while new world champion Shelley Rudman admitted she was looking forward to the end of the season after placing 13th.

Former world champion Gillian Cooke, now providing the start line power to rising star driver Paula Walker, ranked 16th in the women's bobsleigh competition while Ed Smith, in 14th, was the top-ranked British men's skeleton slider.

Two-time Olympian David Murdoch skipped Tom Brewster's rink to their third consecutive Scottish curling title in Perth.

It was also a sixth national win for Murdoch, who skipped throughout the week to give selectors plenty to think about.

Brewster is now looking ahead to the men's World Championships in Canada next month, having won silver for the past two years.

Meanwhile, Eve Muirhead won her fourth consecutive Scottish curling title and now hopes a solid performance at her World Championships in Latvia will be enough to secure Olympic selection for a second straight Games.

David Ryding, second in his most recent European Cup outing, failed to finish the men's slalom second run at the alpine skiing World Championship in Schladming.

But Dougie Crawford moved his world ranking closer to a career-best top 50 with two downhill podiums at the Slovenia Championships - a second and third place his best performances ever.

Kevin Kane, Lee-Steve Jackson, Pete Beyer and Marcel Laponder combined to finish 23rd in the team relay at the biathlon World Championships in Nove Mesto. All four produced unerring performances on the shooting range it what was Great Britain's best World Championship relay result for a decade.

Snowboarder Ben Kilner finished 17th in his specialty halfpipe discipline at the World Cup in Sochi, while Zoe Gillings qualified ninth for the snowboard cross final, where she fell and failed to finish, ranking 11th.

Despite a brief trip in a Russian ambulance, Gillings is expected to be back in World Cup action in Switzerland next month.

Freestyle skier Harry Gillam ranked 30th in the men's aerials World Cup at next year's Olympic venue while Ellie Koyander was 35th in the women's moguls and Emma Lonsdale and Rowan Cheshire 20th and 26th respectively in the women's halfpipe.

Meanwhile, Andrew Musgrave finished 49th and Andrew Young 62nd over 15km at the cross-country World Cup in Davos.

© Sportsbeat 2013