In 1928, the first-ever Olympic skeleton event was won by American sledder Jennison Heaton, who also won a silver medal in the bobsleigh's five-man event. His younger brother John Heaton was runner-up, spending an additional second to complete all three runs (the fourth was cancelled). He repeated this result 20 years later, placing behind Nino Bibbia of Italy, who gave his country its first Winter Olympic gold medal.
In 2002, American sledder Jimmy Shea—grandson of Jack Shea, two-time Olympic speed skating champion at the 1932 Lake Placid Games—secured the gold medal by 0.05 seconds, becoming the first Olympic skeleton champion in 54 years. On the same day, another American, Tristan Gale, won the first-ever women's event in the discipline. In the 2006 Winter Olympics men's event, 39-year-old CanadianDuff Gibson (gold) beat countryman and world champion Jeff Pain (silver) to become the oldest individual gold medalist at the Winter Games.Switzerland's Gregor Stähli won the bronze medal for the second time, beating the third Canadian sledder, Paul Boehm, by 0.26 seconds and thus preventing a medal sweep for Canada. Four years later, Jon Montgomery secured a back-to-back victory for Canada in the men's event, while Amy Williams's victory in the women's event gave Great Britain its only medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics, as well as its first individual gold medalist since 1980, and first individual female gold medalist since 1952.
John Heaton and Gregor Stähli are the overall medal leaders in Olympic skeleton, despite never winning an event. As of 2010, the United States is the most successful nation in Olympic skeleton, having won six medals: three gold and three silver. Great Britain comes next with five medals (one gold, one silver and three bronze), and is the only nation to have gained a medal in every Olympic skeleton tournament. Canada has four medals (two gold, one silver and one bronze), all of which were won at the two most recent Winter Games. Twenty-four medals (eight of each color) have been awarded to twenty-two sledders representing nine National Olympic Committees (NOC).