Shelley Rudman crowned skeleton World Cup champion

Andrew Magee brings you the latest news and views from the snow and ice on the winter sports circuit

By Andrew Magee
lindsey vonn
Lindsey Vonn won her 50th alpine title last weekend Photo: Gerwig Loffelholz, via Wikimedia

lindsey vonn

Skeleton World Cup – Rudman Rules Roost

Britain’s Shelley Rudman is the new FIBT skeleton World Cup champion after finishing third in the last race of the season in Calgary, Canada.

The 30-year-old claimed her fifth podium finish of the season to move to the top of the rankings and become Britain’s first skeleton world champion in 10 years since Alex Coomber claimed her third successive title in 2002.

Bronze in Calgary saw Rudman finish the season with 1507 points, 49 clear of Germany’s Marion Thees in second with defending champion and Thees’ teammate Anja Huber in third.

Rudman was elated at achieving a lifelong dream and dedicated the win to her parents.

She said on Twitter: “So happy to have achieved one of my goals since starting the sport!

“Dedicating my win to my mum and dad! Real difficult year for us after dad suffered a brain haemorrhage last year.

“He wanted me to win the overall WC title and I said I would try, and I did! He’s doing great and fully fit and I know today’s win will make mum and dad over the moon.”

In a spectacular season finale for Team GB, new girl Elizabeth Yarnold claimed her second victory of the season after winning in only her second career start in St Moritz last month.

The 23-year-old beat Huber into second place by 0.54s, with Rudman 0.64s back and tied in third with Canada’s Amy Gough.

Yarnold’s victory saw her finish 9th in the overall rankings, joining Rudman in a total of five Brits in the top 25, numbers which promise much ahead of the next Winter Olympics in Sochi in 2014.

Alpine Skiing – Crazy Canucks

Canada went downhill crazy last Saturday with three racers finishing in the top five at the Chamonix downhill.

Jan Hudec claimed victory in a storming run that saw him finish over half a second ahead of Austria’s Romed Baumann in second, with fellow Canadian Erik Guay joining Hudec on the podium in third.

The Czech born skier overcame a succession of injuries to complete his second downhill win, four years after the first at Lake Louise in 2007.

“I had to fight for this so hard for this in recent years with all my injuries and other personal problems,” Hudec said.

“I only trained a few weeks last summer and fall because of my bad back and knee and I was not sure it was really worth keeping on racing. I wish to thank all the people who supported me last year and gave money at an auction to help me pay my bills.”

And in scenes reminiscent of the 70s and 80s, where the Crazy Canucks led the way in Canadian alpine skiing, youngster Ben Thomsen finished fifth to round off a storming race for the men of the maple leaf.

Vonn-stoppable

The number of Lindsey Vonn puns is running thin on the ground. The American superstar won her 50th alpine title in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany last Saturday, claiming the last of the major downhill titles that had eluded her.

Her run saw her claim her 25th downhill title, and if her form continues she could eclipse Austrian record-holder Anne-Marie Moser-Proell’s impressive tally of 36 downhill wins in 62 career victories.

Despite some mistakes, Vonn still took first place ahead of Switzerland’s Nadja Kamer and Liechtenstein’s Tina Weirather who finished second and third respectively.

Vonn, who has been undergoing a high profile divorce this season, hailed the win as one of her best.

“It’s a special victory for several reasons. First because it’s my 50th and I wanted to hit this mark but also to equal Alberto Tomba, for all he meant for the sport,” she said.

“It’s also special because I did not fare too well here last year at the world championships.”

And finally: Our winter wonder of the week

In the last edition of this blog, we had British snowboard Billy Morgan completing a spectacular triple back-flip back in December. But now comes an arguably superior one.

In 2004, Canadian alpine skier Josh Dueck suffered a broken back after a flip went badly wrong, leaving him fully paraplegic and unable to feel anything from the hips down. But, after a lengthy recovery process, Dueck found himself back on the snow in a sit-ski. He competed at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Paralympics in the men’s sit-ski slalom, winning a silver medal and now the 31-year-old has just set a new record.

Eight years after a failed backflip left him paralysed, Dueck became the first person to ever land a backflip in a sit-ski. It’s a stunning achievement and you can see the man himself, and his sensational jump here. It’s a beautiful thing.

Men’s World Cup Overall Standings

1. Ivica Kostelic (Croatia), 941 points
2. Marcel Hirscher (Austria), 825 points
3. Beat Feuz (Switzerland), 793 points
4. Didier Cuche (Switzerland), 639 points
5. Aksel Lund Svindal (Norway), 631 points
6. Romed Baumann (Austria), 588 points
7. Ted Ligety (USA), 578 points
8. Bode Miller (USA), 562 points
9. Hannes Reichelt (Austria), 556 points
10. Klaus Kroell (Austria), 515 points

Women’s World Cup Overall Standings

1. Lindsey Vonn (USA), 1350 points
2. Tina Maze (Slovenia), 868 points
3. Maria Hoefl-Riesch (Germany), 796 points
4. Elisabeth Goergl (Austria), 674 points
5. Anna Fenninger (Austria), 667 points
6. Julia Mancuso (USA), 607 points
7. Marlies Schild (Austria), 548 points
8. Tina Weirather (Liechtenstein), 439 points
9. Viktoria Rebensburg (Germany), 437 points
10.Kathrin Zettel (Austria), 413 points

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