Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The X-Factor That Turned Shelley into a Silver Surfer

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The X-Factor That Turned Shelley into a Silver Surfer

Article excerpt

Byline: ADRIAN WARNER

MICHAEL Grunberger knew Shelly Rudman had the special X-factor to become an Olympic medallist the first time the Austrian coach saw her race down a skeleton track three years ago.

Although the 24-year-old from Wiltshire only took up the sport in 2002, former world champion Grunberger recognised immediately that she had the mental toughness to handle speeding down an ice track headfirst at speeds of more than 70 mph.

Rudman believes her top physical condition helped her complete one of the most remarkable transformations in British sporting history yesterday - from a promising 400metres hurdler to a skeleton Olympic silver medallist in less than four years.

But the British team coach believes she was born to compete in this sport because she has all the special ingredients in her head.

Grunberger said: "She is a special woman. She is a natural for this sport.

She can handle all the factors needed to slide - the speed, the pressure and the G-forces. She has a good head. It's a special gift from God. To be a really good slider, you have to have all that."

Rudman exceeded her own wildest expectations by snatching a silver at the Cesana Pariol track last night.

Her main goal had been to get a place in the top six.

But she kept her composure in a magnificent second and last run after lying fourth after the opening run. Others might have lost their nerve being so close to a place on the podium, especially with the expectation of a British team on her shoulders who had yet to win a medal in Turin.

But Rudman carefully corrected the errors she made in the first run and jumped ahead of current world No1 Mellisa Hollingsworth-Richards, of Canada, and Germany's Diana Sartor to take the silver behind Swiss Maya Pedersen.

Rudman said: "I am always able to peak in my second runs, so I knew I would be able to relax and correct the mistakes I had made in my first run. I knew something was going wrong on some of the bends and I was able to correct it. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.