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| Event type

Skeleton, Women

Date13 – 14 February 2014
StatusOlympic
LocationTsentr Sannogo Sporta Sanki, Mountain Cluster, Rzhanaya Polyana
Participants20 from 12 countries
FormatFour runs, total time determined placement. Top 20 after three runs qualified for final run.
Venue detailsCurves: 17
Length: 1500 m
Start Altitude: 837 m
Vertical Drop: 125.5 m

The two main protagonists in the women’s skeleton both came into the sport from a track and field heptathlon background but America’s Noelle Pikus-Pace and Lizzy Yarnold of Great Britain had little else in common. Pikus-Pace was a veteran of 14 years of skeleton sliding whilst Yarnold only made her competitive début at the lowest level of international competition at the end of 2010. The two women had dominated the 2013-14 season and each had tasted victory in four of the eight World Cup races. The overall title had been decided when Yarnold had inherited victory at a race where the American had been disqualified for a minor technical offence. Other contenders included Yarnold’s teammate, world champion Shelley Rudman, Pikus-Pace’s teammate Katie Uhlaender and top Russian hope Yelena Nikitina.

Although it wasn’t generally known until after the competition a turning point occurred six days before the event began. Pikus-Pace suffered a minor concussion during one of the training runs. It wasn’t serious but US team doctors advised her to pull out of a number of training runs. Whether this had an effect on the Olympic championship is hard to say as Yarnold would always have been hard to beat but it certainly did not help the American’s preparations.

Yarnold held a small advantage over Nikitina after the 1st run and progressively stretched her lead over the rest of the two days. As Nikitina faltered Pikus-Pace was able to put herself into a solid 2nd place but neither could prevent the Briton following in the sled marks of fellow countrywoman Amy Williams who had won the event in Vancouver. The margin of victory fell just short of a second with most of the interest on the final run centred on the chase for the final place on the podium. Nikitina bled time on her final run but just had enough in hand to hold off Uhlaender for the bronze.

In May 2016 WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) commissioned a report, the McLaren Report, to look into allegations of systematic Russian doping and a cover-up to avoid positives at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. The report was released in two parts, in July and December 2016, and confirmed the allegations. In 2017 the IOC formed a commission to investigate this, headed by IOC Member Denis Oswald, and usually referred to as the Oswald Commission. In late October 2017 the Oswald Commission began to release its findings.

On 22 November 2017 the bronze medalist in this event, Yelena Nikitina was disqualified based on findings from the Oswald Commission, along with the original fifth- and sixth-place finishers, Olga Potylitsyna and Mariya Orlova, respectively. Nikitina immediately appealed this decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), and about 10 days before the PyeongChang Winter Olympics began, the CAS reached a decision and Nikitina was exonerated and her bronze medal was restored.

PosNrSliderNOCTimeRun 1Run 2Run 3Run 4
12Lizzy YarnoldGBR3:52.8958.43 (1)58.46 (1)57.91 (1)58.09 (1)Gold
21Noelle Pikus-PaceUSA3:53.8658.68 (3)58.65 (2)58.25 (3)58.28 (4)Silver
312Yelena NikitinaRUS3:54.3058.48 (2)58.96 (5)58.33 (6)58.53 (12)Bronze1
415Katie UhlaenderUSA3:54.3458.83 (4)58.75 (3)58.41 (7)58.35 (6)
513Olga PotylitsynaRUS3:54.4059.00 (6)58.75 (4)58.13 (2)58.52 (11)2
610Mariya OrlovaRUS3:54.7258.97 (5)59.02 (6)58.30 (5)58.43 (8)3
716Sarah ReidCAN3:54.7359.14 (7)59.17 (8)58.27 (4)58.15 (=2)
85Anja HuberGER3:55.2459.17 (8)59.13 (7)58.63 (9)58.31 (5)
94Janine FlockAUT3:56.0359.47 (13)59.39 (13)58.61 (8)58.56 (14)
108Sophia GriebelGER3:56.1259.43 (11)59.20 (9)58.74 (=13)58.75 (17)
=1117Mellisa HollingsworthCAN3:56.2159.68 (15)59.70 (17)58.68 (10)58.15 (=2)
=119Katharine EustaceNZL3:56.2159.52 (14)59.46 (16)58.69 (11)58.54 (13)
136Marion TheesGER3:56.2359.25 (9)59.42 (15)58.89 (18)58.67 (15)
=1411Michelle SteeleAUS3:56.2859.42 (10)59.41 (14)58.76 (15)58.69 (16)
=1419Lelde PriedulēnaLAT3:56.2859.73 (16)59.31 (11)58.73 (12)58.51 (10)
163Shelley RudmanGBR3:56.4759.46 (12)59.33 (12)58.82 (17)58.86 (19)
1714Lucy ChafferAUS3:56.641:00.16 (20)59.25 (10)58.74 (=13)58.49 (9)
187Marina GilardoniSUI3:56.7459.77 (17)59.79 (18)58.77 (16)58.41 (7)
1918Nozomi KomuroJPN3:57.7659.94 (18)59.82 (19)59.24 (19)58.76 (18)
2020Marinela MaziluROU3:58.6259.99 (19)59.89 (20)59.63 (20)59.11 (20)