• Winter Olympics

Amy Williams to carry British flag at closing ceremony

ESPN staff
February 27, 2010

Click here for Day 16 in pictures

Skeleton gold medallist Amy Williams will carry the British flag at the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics on Sunday.

Williams' emphatic triumph in Vancouver - she amassed an aggregate lead of 0.56 seconds over her four runs - was the first individual victory for a British woman in 58 years. "I am hugely thrilled and proud - this really does mean the world to me," she said.

"I've been pinching myself ever since I won the gold medal, and now to have this honour come my way is brilliant. I'm sure the closing ceremony will be a wonderful finale to what has been, to me, an incredible Games."

Great Britain's brave bobsledders fought their way up to 17th overall in the four-man event having suffered a nasty crash on Friday. John Jackson, Allyn Condon, Dan Money and Henry Odili Nwume crossed the line on their heads on Friday, meaning they were not disqualified, and they put down some solid times to inch back up the rankings. USA took gold in the event, while Germany grabbed silver by one hundredth of a second from Canada.

Dave Ryding and Andy Noble, Team GB's competitors in the men's slalom, finished 27th and 29th respectively after improved second runs. Noble said after his first run: "It was tough. I knew I had to fight and go hard. I did some good skiing at the bottom and I can learn from my mistakes at the top. Hopefully I can go clear and be faster on the second run. I'm just trying to concentrate on myself and go as fast as I can."

Italian Giuliano Razzoli held on for gold after a terrific first run, and Ivica Kostelic and Andre Myhrer got silver and bronze. Ghana's Kwame Nkrumah-Acheampong - the country's first professional skier - managed to avoid last place as he had aimed to do, finishing 47th of the 48 runners who completed the course.

British snowboarder Adam McLeish came 24th in the parallel giant slalom, some eight places shy of the qualification standard for the quarter-finals. "Racing in those weather conditions wasn't easy. Visibility was pretty limited with the rain and fog, but the snow was pretty decent so the organisers did a good job preparing the hill," he said.

"It was challenging today but I enjoyed it. I'm pleased I had two clean runs as it's pretty hit or miss in our sport. I think it's cool that so many people came out to support in this terrible weather. It's been fun."

Jasey Jay Anderson added one of Canada's three golds for the day, beating Austria's Benjamin Karl in the big final. Mathieu Bozzetto earned bronze for France in the small final.

Meanwhile, the Canadian dream of 'owning the podium' has come true as the trio of victories shot them to the top of the leaderboard with 13. There are only two gold medals left to compete for on Sunday - those being the men's cross country 50km mass start, and the one everyone has been waiting for, the men's ice hockey decider between Canada and USA.

Marit Bjoergen became the undoubted star of these Games as she claimed her fifth medal at Vancouver in the women's 30km mass start classic cross country. Justyna Kowalcyzk claimed her first Olympic gold after beating the Norwegian in these Games' most dramatic race to the finish line, handing Bjoergen a silver to go with her three golds and a bronze. Finland's Aino-Kaisa Saarinen lead the chasing pack, more than a minute back, to get bronze.

There was more gold for Canada in the men's curling, after they dominated the final against Sweden to win 7-4. Switzerland were the bronze winners as they defeated Sweden 5-4 in the consolation tie.

The hosts got their first of three golds for the day in the men's speed skating team pursuit. Luckily for them, they faced Team USA in the final and not the boys from the Netherlands, who set a new Olympic Record on their way to bronze.

The women were also at it, with Germany coming from behind to claim the day's second dramatic finish-line victory ahead of Japan on a photo. Bronze went to Poland.

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