KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (Feb. 14, 2014) — Elizabeth Yarnold of Great Britain earned her country’s first gold medal of the Sochi Games on Friday with victory in the skeleton.
The 25-year-old, who led the event after the two opening runs, produced two more consistent rounds to clock a combined time of 3min 52.89sec to finish 0.97sec ahead of second-placed Noelle Pikus-Pace of the United States.
In her third heat, Yarnold, who repeated the triumph at the 2010 Vancouver Games of compatriot Amy Williams, set a new track record with a time of 57.91 sec. Russia’s 2013 European champion Elena Nikitina was third with a time of 3:54.30.
Noelle Pikus-Pace (Orem, Utah) wrapped her career in a silver lining after finishing second in the women’s skeleton Olympic competition at the Sanki Sliding Center.
“It is so surreal,” Pikus-Pace said. “This is everything I could have imagined and more, just to have my family here with me and all of the love and support and cheers we’ve had, and all of the trials we’ve had to overcome to come to this moment. This is as good as gold.”
Katie Uhlaender (Breckenridge, Colo.) was a mere 0.04 seconds from the medals in fourth. “I am blown away, it makes me so sad that I couldn’t bring home a medal for my country,” Uhlaender said. “I appreciate the support, I felt the support of everyone at home, and I’m so heartbroken that I lost by four-hundredths for them.”
Heats 1 & 2 results:
1. Elizabeth Yarnold (GBR) 3:52.89 (58.43, 58.46, 57.91, 58.09); 2. Noelle Pikus-Pace (USA) 3:53.86 (58.68, 58.65, 58.25, 58.28); 3. Elena Nikitina (RUS) 3:54.30 (58.48, 58.96, 58.33, 58.53); 4. Katie Uhlaender (USA) 3:54.30 (58.48, 58.96, 58.33, 58.53);