• Winter Olympics

Yarnold wins Britain's first Sochi gold

ESPN staff
February 14, 2014
Yarnold had earlier set a track record with her first run in Sochi's Sliding Center © Getty Images

Lizzy Yarnold has won Great Britain's first gold medal of the 2014 Winter Olympics after cruising to victory in the women's skeleton.

Noelle Pikus-Pace earned silver, with Russia's Elena Nikitina taking bronze by 0.04 seconds.

In the third heat, Yarnold tightened her grip on top spot after setting a new track record.

Yarnold's superb run of 57.91 seconds extended her lead over Pikus-Pace to a whopping 0.78 seconds - and it proved to be too much for the American to overhaul.

Such was Yarnold's lead going into the final heat, the 25-year-old from Sevenoaks, Kent, could comfortably cruise to the Olympic title by 0.97 seconds.

"I don't think it is going to sink in for a long time. The fourth time I was relaxed and enjoyed it," Yarnold BBC Sport. "It was a messy run, but I am so thrilled I got myself here after five years of hard work. You give up so much but a victory like today makes it all worth it.

"I have shown the world what I am capable of. I cannot believe I won the race. It is lovely it is Valentine's Day, there is lots of romance in the air. There are so many people who were part of my journey - I am so chuffed I am Olympic champion.

"I think I was bold enough to learn the Russian for I am champion. I believed in myself, I knew I could do it if I put in the hard work and dedication."

Great Britain's women's curling team were also writing themselves into the Winter Games history books as Eve Muirhead's team equalled the Olympic record score for the second time at Sochi 2014 as they thrashed Japan 12-3.

They took the seventh end by five points to round off a victory, matching a feat only achieved by Canada's men in 1988.

The round-robin victory mirrored the scoreline in their six-end win over United States on Tuesday and it moves them into joint-third in the table after five of nine matches. The top four will progress to the semi-finals.

"The momentum has been starting to build and we continued it today," Muirhead said. "None of these teams are going to be easy, we knew Japan were going to come out sharp and we knew we had to come out firing from the start and that is exactly what we did.

"The girls are all playing really well, setting me up to play these shots - it was a good solid team performance."

Meanwhile, Great Britain's men's team beat Denmark 8-6 to go top of the table. David Murdoch's team were 5-1 down in the match but battled back to go into the final end with a 7-6 lead. A mistake with the final stone gifted Great Britain the win, making it five victories from six matches. They now face reigning Olympic champions Canada on Saturday.

GB's women's curling team thrashed Japan in the fifth game of the round robin © Getty Images
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