Britain’s Amy Williams is celebrating the best skeleton World Cup performance of her career on the track that will be used at next year’s Olympic Winter Games.
Next Thursday (12th February) marks one year to go to the Vancouver 2012 Games with the skeleton races taking place at the Whistler Sliding Centre track in British Columbia.
Williams put in some solid performances in her first go on the track in training sessions last week.
And in the early hours of this morning she performed when it mattered, collecting a silver medal in round six of the 2008/9 World Cup. It was the 26-year-old Bath athlete’s best World Cup performance yet after winning two bronzes last season and her first World Cup medal this season.
“I was pretty much first on every training day, so if I hadn’t made the top three I would have been disappointed,” she said.
“I’ve enjoyed the track, although it’s not an easy track. There are a few cheeky corners, so you’ve got to be careful.
“I was quite tense on the first run. I didn’t really push as well as I wanted on the start,” she added. I made mistakes on both runs, so to come second when you know you can still improve is cool.
But Williams isn’t taking anything for granted.
“Obviously I can’t say I’m going to the Games yet. We’ve got the selection races next year, so there’s a long way to go. But if I find myself here again in a year, these two weeks will have given me a lot of confidence.
“I’ve been top-three in training at just about every race this year, but I’ve never quite done it in the race.
“It’s all starting to come together now. I know I’ve got it in me. It’s a case of trying to get it all to happen at the right time.”
Williams remains fifth in the overall 2008/9 World Cup series. She has two fourths, two sixths and a 17th from her other fives races.
Team-mate Shelley Rudman, silver medallist at the Torino 2006 Olympic Winter Games, finished sixth at Vancouver and continues to top the overall World Cup rankings.
Rudman has two golds and a silver under her belt this season, which means between them Britain’s women sliders have now medalled at four of the six World Cups.
The World Cup action now moves to the USA for the last two races of the series, which take place on Wednesday 11th February and Thursday 12th February at Park City. They are followed by the World Championships in Lake Placid at the end of the month.
Great Britain has an impressive track record in the sport of bob skeleton. British sliders have won medals at the last two Olympic Winter Games - Alex Coomber won bronze at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City and Shelley Rudman won silver at the 2006 Games in Torino.
Britain’s Kristan Bromley dominated the 2007/8 season, completing a hat-trick by winning the World Championships, the World Cup series and the European Championships. Bromley also won the World Cup series in 2003/4 and the European Championships in the 2003/4 and 2004/5 season, while Rudman captured the European Championship title St Moritz in 2009.