Team GB’s Amy Leads at Skeleton Halfway Mark

19 February 2010

Team GB’s Amy Williams goes into the second and final day of the skeleton competition at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games with a 0.30 second lead.

The 27-year-old from Bath was in scintillating form on the opening day of skeleton competition at the Whistler Sliding Centre, setting a track record on her first run and clocking the second fastest time on the second.

She goes into the final two runs tomorrow (Friday) 0.30 seconds ahead of Germany’s Kerstin Szymkowiak.

Team GB team-mate Shelley Rudman, the Turin 2006 Olympic silver medallist, climbed from 11th after the first run to joint seventh on the second. She is 0.96 seconds behind Williams.

At the end of tonight’s session Williams admitted she hadn’t expected to be in pole position going into day two.

“I didn’t really expect to be in front place right now,” she said. “It was a good first day, but there are two more runs left, so I’m going to concentrate on them and not get ahead of myself. I’m just trying to relax and enjoy it.

“I didn’t realise I was so quick on the first run, it felt a bit messy. We are still learning things on this track and there is still room for improvement,” she added. “I’m going to stick to my game plan and see what happens.”

Williams set a stunning pace on her opening run, breaking both the start record and the track record, although the start record was twice broken by subsequent sliders on the first run.

Starting fifth in a her opening run – a position reflecting her world ranking going into the Olympic Winter Games – Williams clocked a time of 53.83 seconds to smash the track record.

Williams’ first run meant she had built up a 0.31-second advantage over Amy Gough in second.

Rudman was second off in her opening run, but couldn’t match the early pace set by Canada’s Mellisa Hollingsworth. Although disappointed by her opening run, her 54.66 put her just outside the top-10 in 11th, 0.83 seconds behind her team-mate.

Rudman went better in the second heat, clocking a time of 54.26 to total 1:48.92 – and then watched Maya Pedersen (SUI), Marion Trott (GER) and Katie Uhlaender (USA) produce slower cumulative times.

“The second run was a dramatic improvement so at least I’m going away smiling,” said the Sheffield slider after climbing to joint seventh. “ I want to go better than that tomorrow and I’m going to give it everything.

“I was skidding all over the place on my first run and I couldn’t get my lines,” she added. “I managed to get it right on the second run, it was much better.”

With sliders going in reverse order based on times in the first run second time around, Williams was last to go. Although Syzmkowiak’s second run was quicker, Williams’ lead over the field was only trimmed by 0.01 seconds and she takes a 0.30 second lead into day two. Her second run time of 54.13 seconds gave her a 1:47.96 total.

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