Britain’s Amy Williams produced a stunning final run to win the silver medal at the Skeleton World Championships in Lake Placid, the USA this afternoon (Friday).
The 26-year-old from Bath went into the fourth and last run today in fourth place – just 0.07 seconds off the bronze medal position.
But despite battling against the effects of a virus, she produced easily the fastest final run.
With the final round of the competition run in reverse order, that piled the pressure on German sliders Anja Huber, who was in third, and then Kerstin Szymkowiak, in second.
Only another German, Marion Trott, who has dominated the season, could stop Williams from storming to top spot on the podium.
Afterwards a delighted Williams, who trains at the University of Bath, said: “That was just amazing. To end up with a silver medal at the World Championships is brilliant.
“I’ve been in the top-six for most of the season and I knew a could do a bit better. I decided to just enjoy it today.
“I hadn’t been feeling very well for the last week and a half. I was a bit deflated and upset that I felt ill on such an important week.
“I think that probably helped make me a bit more relaxed and less tense. I just decided to go out there and have fun,” said Amy, who was relaxed enough to unfold a sign to the television cameras wishing her brother Simon a happy birthday after the penultimate run of the championships.
“I really enjoyed it today,” she added. “I didn’t look at the times of the other girls, I just got on the sled and thought I should just have fun.
“I knew it was a good run, then I just had to wait at the bottom and hope the other girls went down a bit slower, and they did,” she added. “The pressure is always on you when you’re in the top three.”
Today’s performance – less then a year before the Vancouver 2008 Olympic Winter Games – rounded off an outstanding season for Williams. Williams finished fifth overall in the World Cup series – coming in the top six in all but one of the eight races – and won World Cup silver on the track that will be used for next year’s Olympics.
Andi Schmid, GB performance director, said: “It was an incredible performance by Amy today. She really deserves it. It was fantastic.”
Team-mate Rudman couldn’t repeat the performances that won her silver at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games and gold at this year’s European Championships. She finished ninth overall.
Team-mate Donna Creighton, racing at her first World Championships, came 17th. She produced consistently fast starts across all four runs.
Great Britain had three athletes in the top-10 going into today’s second and final day of action in the women’s Skeleton World Championships.
Williams went into day two of skeleton racing in fourth place, with Rudman seventh and Creighton 10th.
The Germans set the early pace as the women’s championship reached its climax today, with 2008/9 World Cup winner Trott extending her lead at the head of the field
Defending world champion Anja Huber dropped down a place to third, with another German, Szymkowiak shooting up from fifth overnight to second.
Williams was first up for Great Britain today. Her run of 57.59 was almost two-tenths of a second quicker than Huber’s third effort. That halved the time behind her and a bronze medal from 0.14 to 0.07 seconds overall.
But there was disappointment for Rudman and Creighton, who slipped to 10th and 15th with just the final run remaining.
The 2009 Lake Placid World Championships were the first time that Great Britain qualified the full complement of three women sliders to compete at a Skeleton World Championships.
Later today (Friday) sees the first two races of the men’s competition, featuring Britain’s reigning World Champions Kristan Bromley and team-mates Adam Pengilly and Ant Sawyer. The men’s action is due to start at 18.00 GMT, with the final two runs on Saturday (28th February) from 18.00 GMT.
2009 Bauhaus Skeleton World Championship final positions – women
Gold: Marion Trott (GER) – 55.45, 56.84, 57.21, 58.47 = 3:47.97
Silver: AMY WILLIAMS (GBR) – 55.77, 57.17, 57.59, 58.03 = 3: 48.56 (+0.59)
Bronze: Kerstin Szymkowiak (GER) – 56.17, 56.90, 57.28, 58.26 = 3:48.61 (+0.64)
9th: SHELLEY RUDMAN (GBR) – 55.90, 57.37, 58.00, 58.33 = 3:49.60 (+ 1.63)
17th: DONNA CREIGHTON (GBR) – 56.15, 57.27, 58.95, 59.06 = 3:51.43 (+ 3.46)
The British Skeleton Programme is funded by UK Sport, The National Lottery, and TASS as well as partners Adidas and Panasonic. British Skeleton is based at the University of Bath.
Great Britain has an impressive track record in the sport of bob skeleton. British sliders have won medals at the last two Olympic Winter Games – Alex Coomber won bronze at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City and Shelley Rudman won silver at the 2006 Games in Torino.
Britain’s Kristan Bromley dominated the 2007/8 season, completing a hat-trick by winning the World Championships, the World Cup series and the European Championships. Bromley also won the World Cup series in 2003/4 and the European Championships in the 2003/4 and 2004/5 season, while Rudman captured the European Championship title St Moritz in 2009.
Picture: Bryn Vaile – Matchtight Ltd
Posted: Friday 27th February 2009