Shelley Rudman saw her advantage cut at the skeleton World Championships in St Moritz but it mattered little as she became the first British female ever to win gold.
Rudman, the defending World Cup champion and Olympic silver medallist from Turin 2006, held a one-second lead over America’s Noelle Pikus-Pace after the first two runs in Switzerland.
The 31-year-old was the fastest slider over both runs for first place at the halfway stage with fellow Brit Lizzy Yarnold 0.15 seconds shy of Pikus-Pace, who won gold at the 2007 worlds, in third.
Pikus Pace took 0.18seconds off Rudman’s lead after posting the quickest effort of run three but the Briton’s advantage was still too great as she won by 0.57 after the fourth and final run in St Moritz.
She becomes the fourth British female to medal at the World Championships but the first to claim gold while Kristan Bromley is the only other Briton to have achieved the same feat, that in 2008.
Rudman had claimed three wins and a second on her last four visits to St Moritz but she admitted she didn’t expect to be so dominant at the World Championships.
“No I didn’t at all. I train to train and I try and race to race and it went well yesterday [Thursday],” said Rudman. “I was a little bit more relaxed but I still didn’t expect to win until it was over.”
Pikus-Pace clocked the quickest time of runs three and four, 1:09.45minutes and 1:09.69, but Rudman’s efforts of 1:09.63 and 1:09.94 were enough to give her victory by 0.57.
Fellow Brit Yarnold suffered heartache as she finished fourth overall just 0.13 shy of Canada’s Sarah Reid, who was in turn 0.84 behind Pikus-Pace.
Yarnold, who won bronze last year, was third after run three but just missed out while the third Brit in the field in St Moritz, Donna Creighton, was 21st.
© Sportsbeat 2013