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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, February 20, 2010

Spoiler alert: Williams wins gold in skeleton

 •  Bodacious Bode gets super-G silver

Associated Press

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Amy Williams

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WHISTLER, British Columbia Noelle Pikus-Pace spent 10 years chasing a medal, and missed it by 0.10 seconds.

Spoiled by a spoiler.

Amy Williams finished off a surprising some protesters said tainted run to the women's skeleton gold medal at the Vancouver Games yesterday, giving Britain its first individual Winter Olympics title since figure skater Robin Cousins prevailed at Lake Placid in 1980.

"It was the perfect performance," bronze medalist Anja Huber of Germany said. "She's the right Olympic champion."

Not everyone agrees.

The International Federation of Bobsleigh and Tobogganing denied two protests from Canada and the United States claiming the helmet was not compliant with FIBT rules regarding aerodynamics. It was the second protest filed by the U.S. in as many nights.

"It's pretty much the same as everyone else's helmet," Williams said. "And if people want to try and play mind games that's fine."

Williams finished four runs at the Whistler Sliding Center in 3 minutes, 35.64 seconds. Germans took silver and bronze, with Kerstin Szymkowiak finishing 0.56 seconds off Williams' pace and Huber came in third.

Williams had never before won a race against all the world's top woman sliders. Until now, her career highlight was a silver medal at last year's world championships.

The protests say that a series of tiny ridges called spoilers across the top of Williams' helmet gave her an illegal edge.

That edge, some Americans said, may have cost Pikus-Pace, 27, a medal. The Orem, Utah native finished fourth in her final race, missing bronze by a mere 0.10 seconds.