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Skeleton at the 2010 Winter Olympics – Women's

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Women's Skeleton
at the XXI Olympic Winter Games
Kerstin Szymkowiak Amy Williams and Anja Huber.jpg

(left to right) Anja Huber, Amy Williams, and Kerstin Szymkowiak
Venue Whistler Sliding Centre
Dates 18–19 February
Competitors 20 from 12 nations
Winning time 3:35.64
Medalists
Gold medal    Great Britain
Silver medal    Germany
Bronze medal    Germany
«2006 2014»
Skeleton at the
2010 Winter Olympics
Skeleton pictogram.svg
Events
men  women

The women's skeleton event at the 2010 Winter Olympics took place at the Whistler Sliding Centre on 18–19 February.[1] The competition was won by British athlete Amy Williams, who set new course records for the track on her first and third runs. Williams, who had never before won a World Cup or World Championship event, became the first British athlete to win a solo Winter Olympic gold medal in 30 years. German sliders Kerstin Szymkowiak and Anja Huber won the silver and bronze medals respectively. Williams' teammate Shelley Rudman, who had won the silver medal at the 2006 Winter Olympics, and Canadian Mellisa Hollingsworth, both of whom had been expected to be in medal contention, were disappointed.

Williams' victory was not without controversy, as the United States and Canada filed complaints with the judges related to Williams' helmet. However, judges ruled that ridges in her helmet did not violate International Bobsleigh and Tobogganing Federation (FIBT) rules, and rejected the complaints.

Logistics[edit]

The Whistler Sliding Centre in June, 2008

Track[edit]

The Whistler Sliding Centre in Whistler, British Columbia was the site of women's skeleton at the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver, Canada. The track was constructed between 2005 and 2008, and became only the 15th competition-level track in the world. It was certified for competition in sliding sports by the International Luge Federation (FIL) and the International Bobsleigh and Tobogganing Federation (FIBT) in March, 2008 in a process called homologation where hundreds of athletes ran the track. This was the first time many competitors at the 2010 Games were able to try the track and begin to develop strategies for it. Canadian athletes hoped that having it open two years before the Games, and having that amount of time to train on it, would give them an advantage in the Games. The Whistler Sliding Centre quickly gained a reputation as one of the fastest tracks in the world.[2]

Rules and description of competition[edit]

Rules for the Olympic skeleton competitions were set by the FIBT and the International Olympic Committee (IOC). They entrusted four to seven officials with making decisions regarding competition rules: one or two technical delegates, a jury president, two jury members, and two optional jury assistants. These decisions were implemented and enforced by a race director, to whom the overall responsibility for running the competition was given. Under the rules, competitors were guaranteed a minimum of six official training runs in the days prior to the competition. The competition itself consisted of four heats, with the starting order of athletes determined by their FIBT rankings prior to the start of the Games. Athletes began their runs on their sleds at a starting block, ran briefly while holding their sleds, and then laid on their stomachs on the sleds through the remainder of the course. Athletes were ranked by the speed of their times between the their start and when they crossed the finish line at the bottom of the track.[3]

Preview[edit]

Canadian slider Mellisa Hollingsworth was among those expected to be in medal contention, but fell from second to fifth places in her final run.

Much of the speculation about potential medal winners before the Games focused on athletes from Great Britain, the United States, and Canada. Athletes from German-speaking countries had traditionally been dominant in the sliding sports, luge and bobsleigh, but following the re-introduction of skeleton, they had not been as strongly competitive in the new sport.[4] Mellisa Hollingsworth of Canada, the defending Olympic bronze medalist, won the 2009-10 Skeleton World Cup,[5] and was considered a strong contender if not the favorite to win.[6] British athlete Shelley Rudman won the only British medal at the 2006 Winter Olympics with her silver in skeleton, and her bronze medal at the European Championships just prior to the Games kept her name in media previews of the Olympic event. Her countrywoman Amy Williams, however, finished outside of the medal places in both the World Cup, in which she placed fifth, and the European Championships, in which she placed sixth.[7] American Noelle Pikus-Pace had not been able to compete in the 2006 Games after a runaway bobsleigh had broken her leg.[8]

A number of other athletes had the potential to win medals by virtue of previous strong finishes in international competition. Switzerland's Maya Pedersen-Bieri was the defending Olympic champion.[9] The defending world champion was Germany's Marion Trott,[10] who also won the test event held at the venue.[11] The last 2009-10 Skeleton World Cup prior to the 2010 Games took place in Igls, Austria (southeast of Innsbruck) on 22 January 2010 and was won by Germany's Anja Huber.[12]

Standing records[edit]

While the IOC does not consider skeleton times eligible for Olympic records, the FIBT does maintain records for both the start and a complete run at each track it competes. These records were set during the test event for the 2010 Games on 5 February 2009.[11]

Type Date Athlete Time
Start 5 February 2009  Anja Huber (GER) 4.97
Track 5 February 2009  Mellisa Hollingsworth (CAN) 54.81

Qualifying athletes[edit]

On 20 January 2010, the FIBT announced the teams which had qualified for the 2010 Games,[13][14] the quotas being subsequently updated on 26 January 2010.[15][16] The athletes who qualified for the women's event were:[17]

Competition[edit]

The first run start order was released on the afternoon of 17 February 2010.[18] The first two runs took place on 18 February at 16:00 PST (Pacific Standard Time) and 17:00 PST.[1] On 19 February, the final two runs took take place at 15:45 PST and 16:45 PST.[1] During the first run, Amy Williams broke the previous course record by nearly a full second, finishing first with a time of 53.83 seconds and reaching a top speed of 143.3 km/h (89.0 mph). She led the second run as well. German slider Kerstin Szymkowiak was in second place after two runs, nearly a third of a second behind Williams. Mellisa Hollingsworth, competing on home soil and called the favorite to win in a number of media accounts, was in third place, trailing Szymkowiak after two runs by 0.09 seconds. Shelley Rudman trailed by nearly a full second, surprising many observers who had expected her to be in medal contention.[19] Japanese athlete Nozomi Komuro was disqualified after the first heat because her sled did not have the required FIBT control sticker.[17]

The United States, Canada and Germany, together with two unnamed teams, lodged a protest with officials following Williams' successful first day of competition.[20] The protest alleged that her helmet was illegal, as ridges in it might give her an unfair aerodynamic advantage. In accordance with competition rules, the jury of officials inspected the helmet, and rejected the protest. Their grounds for doing so were that the ridges in the helmet were not a separate piece affixed to the helmet, expressly banned by FIBT rules, but rather an integral part of the helmet, which made the helmet legal.[21] A second protest, filed jointly by the US and Canada on the 19th, was also rejected.[22]

The next day, in her third run, Williams again set a new course record, 53.68 seconds, and won the final run as well to secure the gold medal. Williams became the first British sportsperson to win an individual Winter Olympic gold medal in thirty years.[8] Prior to this win, Williams had never won a World Cup or World Championship event.[23] German athletes, Kerstin Szymkowiak and Anja Huber, won the silver and bronze medals, the first Olympic medals for Germany in the sport. Williams' teammate Shelley Rudman fought her way into the lead briefly after a fast final run, but was overtaken by a five other athletes and finished sixth. Canada's Hollingsworth dropped from third place after the first two runs to fifth after the final run.[8] American Noelle Pikus-Pace, who was in sixth place after the third run, finished fourth in the overall standings.[23]

Results[edit]

TR - Track Record. Top finish in each run is in boldface.

Rank Bib Athlete Country Run 1[17] Run 2[24] Run 3[25] Run 4[26] Total Behind
1st 5 Amy Williams Great Britain 53.83-TR 54.13 53.68-TR 54.00 3:35.64 +0.00
2nd 3 Kerstin Szymkowiak Germany 54.15 54.11 53.91 54.03 3:36.20 +0.56
3rd 8 Anja Huber Germany 54.17 54.21 54.10 53.88 3:36.36 +0.72
4 6 Noelle Pikus-Pace United States 54.30 54.21 53.88 54.07 3:36.46 +0.82
5 1 Mellisa Hollingsworth Canada 54.18 54.17 53.81 54.44 3:36.60 +0.96
6 2 Shelley Rudman Great Britain 54.66 54.26 53.95 53.82 3:36.69 +1.05
7 9 Amy Gough Canada 54.14 54.78 53.92 54.17 3:37.01 +1.37
8 4 Marion Trott Germany 54.53 54.53 53.88 54.17 3:37.11 +1.47
9 10 Maya Pedersen-Bieri Switzerland 54.53 54.83 54.24 53.91 3:37.51 +1.87
10 14 Emma Lincoln-Smith Australia 54.28 54.41 54.54 54.40 3:37.63 +1.99
11 7 Katie Uhlaender United States 54.51 54.53 54.54 54.35 3:37.93 +2.29
12 11 Melissa Hoar Australia 54.73 54.48 54.48 54.53 3:38.22 +2.58
13 13 Michelle Kelly Canada 54.73 55.49 55.56 55.01 3:40.79 +5.15
14 15 Tionette Stoddard New Zealand 55.85 55.93 55.02 54.89 3:41.69 +6.05
15 19 Costanza Zanoletti Italy 55.48 55.63 55.38 55.31 3:41.80 +6.16
16 12 Svetlana Trunova Russia 56.47 55.32 55.23 55.17 3:42.19 +6.55
17 18 Desiree Bjerke Norway 56.48 55.28 55.34 55.26 3:42.36 +6.72
18 16 Elena Yudina Russia 55.42 56.06 55.54 55.77 3:42.79 +7.15
19 20 Maria Marinela Mazilu Romania 57.10 57.03 58.14 57.65 3:49.92 +14.28
17 Nozomi Komuro Japan DSQ

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "2010 Winter Olympics Skeleton schedule". Vancouver 2010. Retrieved 21 February 2010. 
  2. ^ "Training at The Whistler Sliding Centre". Vancouver 2010. 9 April 2008. Retrieved 20 February 2010. 
  3. ^ "International Skeleton Rules, 2009" (pdf). International Bobsleigh and Tobogganing Federation. 2009. Retrieved 20 February 2010. 
  4. ^ "Skeleton, bobsleigh and luge: Anglos sliding into Vancouver contention". Agence France-Presse (Vancouver 2010). 18 January 2010. Retrieved 21 February 2010. 
  5. ^ "FIBT Skeleton World Cup final women's rankings". International Bobsleigh and Tobogganing Federation. Retrieved 21 February 2010. 
  6. ^ "Alberta racer Mellisa Hollingsworth favourite to win skeleton gold at Olympics". Yahoo! Sports. 3 February 2010. Retrieved 31 March 2010. 
  7. ^ "Skeleton: Rudman bags world bronze". Agence France-Presse (Vancouver 2010). 22 January 2010. Retrieved 21 February 2010. 
  8. ^ a b c "Skeleton: Golden Williams ends Britain's 30-year wait". Agence France-Presse (Vancouver 2010). 19 February 2010. Retrieved 21 February 2010. 
  9. ^ "2006 Winter Olympics women's skeleton results". International Bobsleigh and Tobogganing Federation. Retrieved 21 February 2010. 
  10. ^ "FIBT World Championships 2009 women's skeleton results". International Bobsleigh and Tobogganing Federation. Retrieved 21 February 2010. 
  11. ^ a b "Whistler Sliding Centre World Cup 5 February 2009 women's skeleton results". International Bobsleigh and Tobogganing Federation. Retrieved 21 February 2010. [dead link]
  12. ^ "FIBT Skeleton World Cup Igls 22 January 2010 women's results". International Bobsleigh and Tobogganing Federation. Retrieved 21 February 2010. 
  13. ^ FIBT Announces Olympic Qualifying Quotas. at the Fédération Internationale de Bobsleigh et de Tobogganing (20 January 2010 article Retrieved 21 January 2010.)
  14. ^ "FIBT skeleton women quotas for the 2010 Winter Olympics" (pdf). International Bobsleigh and Tobogganing Federation. Retrieved 21 February 2010. 
  15. ^ Olympic Quotas Updated After Reallocation at the Fédération Internationale de Bobsleigh et de Tobogganing (26 January 2010 article Retrieved 27 January 2010.)
  16. ^ "26 January 2010 article on FIBT allocation for women's skeleton at the 2010 Winter Olympics" (pdf). International Bobsleigh and Tobogganing Federation. Retrieved 21 February 2010. 
  17. ^ a b c "2010 Winter Olympics 18 February 2010 skeleton women run 1 results". Vancouver 2010. 18 February 2010. Retrieved 21 February 2010. 
  18. ^ 2010 Winter Olympics 17 February 2010 Skeleton women's start. - Retrieved 18 February 2010.
  19. ^ "Skeleton (Ladies) : Record-breaking Williams eyes British breakthrough". Agence France-Presse (Vancouver 2010). 18 February 2010. Retrieved 21 February 2010. 
  20. ^ Wilson, Neil (19 February 2010). "WINTER OLYMPICS 2010: Green light for Amy Williams as protest is given cold shoulder". London: The Daily Mail. Retrieved 29 March 2010. 
  21. ^ "Skeleton: US protest at Williams helmet thrown out". Agence France-Presse (Vancouver 2010). 18 February 2010. Retrieved 21 February 2010. 
  22. ^ Reynolds, Tim (20 February 2010). "FIBT denies 2 protests over Williams’ skeleton win". Associated Press (Yahoo! Sports). Retrieved 21 February 2010. 
  23. ^ a b Williams Wins Women's Skeleton Gold Medal. at the Fédération Internationale de Bobsleigh et de Tobogganing (20 February 2010 article Retrieved 20 February 2010.)
  24. ^ "2010 Winter Olympics 18 February 2010 skeleton women run 2 results". Vancouver 2010. 18 February 2010. Retrieved 21 February 2010. 
  25. ^ "2010 Winter Olympics 19 February 2010 skeleton women run 3 results". Vancouver 2010. 19 February 2010. Retrieved 21 February 2010. 
  26. ^ "2010 Winter Olympics 19 February 2010 skeleton women run 4 results". Vancouver 2010. 19 February 2010. Retrieved 21 February 2010. 

External links[edit]