Shelley Rudman rose to the occasion once again yesterday as she was crowned world skeleton champion in St Moritz after beating her rivals by more than half a second.
Rudman, the 2006 Olympic silver medallist, took a one-second advantage into yesterday’s final two runs and held off America’s Noelle Pikus-Pace by 0.57sec, with Canada’s Sarah Reid pipping Great Britain’s Lizzy Yarnold to bronze.
It was an emphatic performance by Rudman, whose win made her the first British woman to claim a sliding world title, and the first Briton since her partner Kristan Bromley won the men’s title in 2008. “I’m so happy because this was the one medal in my sport I hadn’t won,” she said. “The world title was always my No 1 priority this year. I had quite a good cushion going into my final two runs but I am experienced enough to know it was nowhere near over. I spent all last night knowing just one mistake could put me out of the medals.”
Rudman and Yarnold will now prepare to head to Sochi, where they will get their first taste of next year’s Winter Olympic track at the final World Cup race of the regular season in a fortnight’s time.
Rudman, who followed her silver medal in Turin in 2006 with a relatively disappointing performance in Vancouver in 2010, said: “I’ve built up quite a range of experiences in the Olympics so, hopefully, I can bring that into play. I can’t wait to go to Sochi and start to get to know the track ahead of next year’s Games.”