Sporting moments of 2010: Williams takes skeleton gold

Fri, 01 Oct 00:01:00 2010

We continue our rundown of the top 10 sporting moments of 2010 with a look back on Amy Williams's victory in the women's skeleton at the Vancouver Olympics.

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Robin Cousins's victory in the men's figure skating at Lake Placid back in 1980 was the last time Britain won an individual gold at a Winter Olympics - Amy Williams put an end to the wait.

The 27-year-old nicknamed 'Curly Wurly' travelled to Vancouver as the number two slider in the British team behind Shelley Rudman, winner of the silver medal in Turin, but came out of the Games the world number one.

Williams and the trusty 'tea tray' she affectionately calls Arthur brushed all aside at the Whistler Sliding Centre with a stunning performance on what was a hugely controversial track.

Two course records in her three runs left the Bath-based slider with a half-second lead over her closest challenger, Melissa Hollingsworth of Canada, going into the fourth and final round of competition.

Williams insisted she had never let her position as overnight leader play on her mind. "I surprised myself because I wasn't really nervous," she said.

"I slept absolutely perfectly and I was quite excited. It didn't feel like an Olympic Games - it just felt like a normal race except with more people shouting for me."

With such a huge advantage serving as a cushion, Williams all but needed to stay on her sledge to seal her win.

She did so with aplomb.

The margin of victory was a staggering 0.56 seconds, and suddenly the sports performance university student was an Olympic gold medallist.

Williams's win represented the first British gold medal at the Winter Olympics since Rhona Martin's women's curling squad prevailed at Salt Lake City. Before that, Jane Torvill and Christopher Dean won gold in the ice dancing at Sarajevo back in 1984.

The much-maligned Whistler track was lauded by an ecstatic Williams after her victory.

"I loved that track," she said. "Once you get over the fear factor you learn to love it and the speed is your friend.

"Never in a million years did I think I'd come to Vancouver and win gold," Williams added. "I've probably been a bit of a bore for the last few years and probably haven't given my friends enough attention, but I knew I was doing it to get here and it's all paid off."

Williams has only been competing in the skeleton since 2002, but became undoubtedly the year's most surprising national heroine after her exploits in a sledge.


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