Amy Williams

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For other people named Amy Williams, see Amy Williams (disambiguation).
Amy Williams
Amy Williams.jpg
Amy Williams receiving her gold medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver
Personal information
Nationality English
Born (1982-09-29) 29 September 1982 (age 31)
Cambridge, England
Residence Bath, England
Height 1.73 m (5 ft 8 in)
Weight 63 kg (139 lb)
Website http://www.skeletonamy.co.uk/
Sport
Country  Great Britain
Sport Skeleton
Event(s) Women
Coached by Austria Michael Grünberger
Switzerland Markus Kottmann
Achievements and titles
Olympic finals Olympic rings with white rims.svg Gold medal icon.svg

Amy Joy Williams MBE (born 29 September 1982)[1] is an English former skeleton racer and Olympic gold medallist.

Originally a runner, she began training in skeleton after trying the sport on a push-start track at the University of Bath. Although unable to qualify for the 2006 Winter Olympics, she was a member of her nation's team four years later at the 2010 Games, and won a gold medal, becoming the first British individual gold medallist at a Winter Olympics for 30 years and the only British medallist of those specific Olympics.

Career[edit]

Williams was originally a 400m runner but she was unable to qualify for the national athletics team. She began competing in skeleton in 2002 after trying out at a push-start track at the University of Bath. She described her first experience on a skeleton track as exhilarating and terrifying, but she nonetheless enjoyed it and began training in skeleton.[1]

At her first major event, the 2009 World Championships in Lake Placid, she won a silver medal.[2]

Williams at the 2010 Winter Olympics

Williams was unable to qualify for the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, as Great Britain was only allowed to enter a single skeleton athlete in that year's competition, a spot won by Shelley Rudman, who went on to win the silver medal. Four years later, she qualified for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada, where her country was allowed to send two skeleton athletes.[1] At the 2010 Games, Williams won the gold medal in the women's skeleton breaking the track record twice along the way and winning by more than a half a second.[3] At the end of the first day, on which Williams had established a 0.3s advantage over second placed Kerstin Szymkowiak, two protests were filed by other nations over the aerodynamics of Williams' helmet. The protests claimed that the helmet's spoilers were illegal and gave her an unfair aerodynamic advantage. The manufacturer claimed that they were integral to the helmet's design. Both protests were rejected by the International Bobsleigh and Tobogganing Federation, which had passed the helmet—with ridges—days earlier.[4][5][6][7]

Williams became the first British gold medallist in an individual event at the Winter Olympics for 30 years, following Robin Cousins' victory in figure skating at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, and the first British female individual Winter Olympics gold medallist since Jeannette Altwegg in 1952.[8]

In June 2011, Williams appeared in an episode of the television show Top Gear in which she raced against a rally Mini Cooper at Lillehammer, Norway. Williams was 1.31 seconds slower in her skeleton run down the two mile Olympic track (1m 01.04s) than the car (59.73s) (which covered the same distance on a road that interweaves the circuit).[9]

Williams was a contestant in the second series of the ITV show 71 Degrees North in late 2011.[10] She finished the series in third place.

She has also appeared in the CBBC series, 12 again.

Post-retirement[edit]

On 1 May 2012, Williams announced her retirement from skeleton and said her injuries were behind her quitting the sport.[11]

In January 2013, BBC Two announced Williams as a co-presenter on the 35th series of Ski Sunday.[12]

Approached by motorsports pundit and part-time rally driver Tony Jardine, Williams agreed to co-drive a Honda Civic, with the aim of competing in Rally GB. After gaining her licence, the pair successfully trained and qualified to compete in the 2013 Welsh-based Rally GB.[13]

As well as taking up a new role as TeamGB Ambassador, along with Robin Cousins, she has also taken a commentator role with the BBC Sport commentating team specialising in the ice sports of skeleton and bobsleigh.[14]

On 25 April 2014, it was announced that Williams would replace Rachel Riley as a presenter on Channel 5's The Gadget Show.[15]

Awards and honours[edit]

Williams was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2010 Birthday Honours.[16] She was installed as an Honorary Freeman of the City of Bath on 5 June 2010.[17]

Personal life[edit]

Williams was born in Cambridge and brought up in Bath, being educated at Hayesfield School Technology College, Beechen Cliff School and the University of Bath.[8]

Her father, Ian Williams, is a professor of Chemistry at the University of Bath, and her mother, Janet Williams, is a former midwife. Williams has a twin sister and an older brother.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Amy Williams Biography". BBC Sport. Retrieved 20 February 2010. 
  2. ^ "Williams secures skeleton silver". BBC Sport. 27 February 2009. Retrieved 20 February 2010. 
  3. ^ "British slider Amy Williams wins Olympic skeleton gold". BBC Sport. 20 February 2010. 
  4. ^ "Canada appeal over winner's helmet". Yahoo!. Reuters. 20 February 2010. [dead link]
  5. ^ Wilson, Neil (19 February 2010). "WINTER OLYMPICS 2010: Green light for Amy Williams as protest is given cold shoulder". Daily Mail (UK). 
  6. ^ "Gold for Britain at last but hosts try to spoil party". Eurosport. Yahoo!. 20 February 2010. [dead link]
  7. ^ Clatworthy, Ben (20 February 2010). "Britain gets a gold". PlanetSKI. Retrieved 20 February 2010. 
  8. ^ a b c "Amy Williams wins historic gold medal at Winter Olympics". Bath Chronicle. 20 February 2010. Archived from the original on 28 March 2010. Retrieved 21 February 2010. 
  9. ^ "James May Vs British Gold Medalist - Top Gear - Series 17 Episode 1 - BBC Two". YouTube. 30 June 2011. Retrieved 7 February 2014. 
  10. ^ "71 Degrees Lineup". 18 July 2011. Retrieved 5 March 2014. 
  11. ^ "Amy Williams retires from skeleton". BBC Sport (BBC). 1 May 2012. Retrieved 1 May 2012. 
  12. ^ "Ski Sunday returns on BBC Two for 35th season". BBC Sport. 7 January 2013. Retrieved 7 January 2013. 
  13. ^ Dirs, Ben (13 November 2013). "Amy Williams: Olympic champion swaps skeleton for rally co-driving". BBC Sport (BBC). Retrieved 7 February 2014. 
  14. ^ "Blog | Amy Williams - Olympic Skeleton Champion". Amy Williams. Retrieved 14 February 2014. 
  15. ^ Glanfield, Tim. "Rachel Riley leave The Gadget Show to be replaced by Olympic skeleton star Amy Williams on Channel 5's tech review programme". Radio Times. Retrieved 25 April 2014. 
  16. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 59446. p. 23. 12 June 2010.
  17. ^ "Olympic gold medallist Amy Williams to become Honorary Freeman of the City of Bath". Team Bath (The Department of Sports Development, University of Bath). June 2010. Retrieved 7 September 2010. 

External links[edit]