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Winter Olympics 2014: Lizzy Yarnold posts the fastest time in training on first day of skeleton practice

Yarnold is one of Great Britain's strongest hopes for a medal and appears to be in good form going into the competition

Gold medal favourite Lizzy Yarnold posted the fastest time on the first day of official skeleton training at the Sanki Sliding Center in Rosa Khutor on Monday.

Yarnold finished in 58.59 seconds in the first of her two runs, 0.05 seconds ahead of Russia's Maria Orlova, with her major rival, American Noelle Pikus-Pace, back in 11th place.

Yarnold, who had dominated in unofficial training late last week, was fourth fastest in a slower second run in which Pikus-Pace, who split the eight World Cup races with the Briton this season, was again off the pace in 13th place.

Turin silver medallist Shelley Rudman placed in 15th and 16th places respectively over her two runs.

Rudman said: "I think the competition is going to be really exciting to watch and definitely Great Britain with Lizzy, the Americans and the Germans are quite strong now.


"I think it's going to be quite an open race. It will be intriguing."

Yarnold and Rudman will start their medal quest with the first two of their four runs on Thursday, before the medals are decided on the following night.