Yarnold wins Britain's first gold of Sochi Games

Feb. 14, 2014 at 1:23 PM
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SOCHI, Russia, Feb. 14 (UPI) -- Britain's Elizabeth Yarnold won the Olympic women's skeleton Friday and American Noelle Pikus-Pace showed it is not all about finishing first.

Yarnold was the fastest down the corridor of ice in all four runs to create what in the world of sliding events was a very one-sided victory of almost a full second. Her combined time of 3:52.89 brought Britain its first gold medal of the Sochi Games, equaling that country's total from the Vancouver Olympics four years ago.

Pikus-Pace, meanwhile, finished off a gratifying two days of competition by winning the silver medal -- ending a personal quest and then celebrating with her husband and two children.

Pikus-Pace was prepared to battle for a medal at the 2006 Olympics in Turin, but in a freak accident suffered in Calgary a few months before the Games she fractured a leg when struck by a bobsled.

She appeared at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, but finished fourth in the skeleton. That disappointment led to her retirement from the sport. Pikus-Pace eventually chose to make one more run at an Olympic medal and with her family looking on she did so on Friday.

At the completion of her final run, knowing she could do no worse than a silver medal, she jumped climbed into the grandstands and engaged in a family group hug.

Elena Nikitina of Russia held on for the bronze medal, finishing .04 of a second in front of American Katie Uhlaender.

The first two runs of the men's event were held Friday with Russian Alexander Tretiakov leading the way midway through the event.

Tretiakov had a combined time of 1:51.99, more than a half second faster than Martins Dukurs of Latvia. Americans John Daly and Matthew Antoine were third and fourth.

Medals in the men's skeleton will be handed out Saturday.

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