Lizzy Yarnold is proving she’s a real medal contender in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics after another strong finish in the 2012-2013 World Cup.
It may have been her third consecutive race where the skeleton star has failed to make the podium, but it was just an agonising 0.06 seconds that separated her from Noelle Pikus-Pace of the United States. Annoyingly, Yarnold had improved from fifth place after her first run but it wasn’t enough to land her the third podium finish of the season.
She may not be getting carried away, despite wanting to finish the season on top, but it looks like she just might have the stamina to go all the way and grab the title. She currently lies second in the 85-strong rankings, level on 1106 points with Germany’s Anja Huber. Only 90 points from Marion Thees, another German who won in Altenberg on Friday by 0.01 seconds, Yarnold only needs a couple of medals in the remaining few meetings to usurp her and claim superiority. That’s not to mention the upcoming World Championships in Switzerland later this month.
Someone who went in the other direction is Britain’s Shelley Rudman. The well-known skeleton star, the 2012 World Champion no less, isn’t having the best of seasons this time around. Having won the gold just two events ago in Winterberg, she succumbed to a 16th place finish here. Rudman was 9th after run one but her second run alone was only good enough for 19th from the 20 finishers. The defending champion, who won bronze here last year, blamed a bout of flu for her poor performance, so it’s not as if she’s fallen apart overnight. Her season is far from over, too; on her way to the 2011-2012 title, Rudman won only one event and to Yarnold’s two but still came out on top. In that instance, though, Rudman also grabbed a silver and three bronzes to level things out. This season, gold is all she’s managed. Still, she has a strong chance of a top-3 outcome as she lies in sixth.
The other Brit in action this weekend is Donna Creighton. Her season hasn’t really got going but her second run was the fastest follow-up time of the day, granting her seventh after a poor opening run. It was her second-best finish after the opener in Lake Placid that saw her finish fourth. Creighton is still the third highest ranked Brit out of a group of five that also includes Rose McGrandle and Laura Deas.