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Amy Joy Williams MBE (born 29 September 1982)[1] is an English former skeleton racer and Olympic gold medallist. Originally a runner, she began training in skeleton after trying the sport on a push-start track at the University of Bath. Although unable to qualify for the 2006 Winter Olympics, she was a member of her nation's team four years later at the 2010 Games, and won a gold medal, becoming the first British individual gold medallist at a Winter Olympics for 30 years and the only British gold medallist of those specific Olympics.

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 [hide*1 Career

Career[edit]Edit

Williams was originally a 400m runner but she was unable to qualify for the national athletics team. She began competing in skeleton in 2002 after trying out at a push-start track at the University of Bath. She described her first experience on a skeleton track as exhilarating and terrifying, but she nonetheless enjoyed it and began training in skeleton.[1]

At her first major event, the 2009 World Championships in Lake Placid, she won a silver medal.[2]

[1][2]Williams at the 2010 Winter Olympics

Williams was unable to qualify for the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, as Great Britain was only allowed to enter a single athlete in that year's competition, a spot won by Shelley Rudman, who went on to win the silver medal. Four years later, she qualified for the 2010 Winter Olympics inVancouver, Canada, where her country was allowed to send two athletes.[1] At the 2010 Games, Williams won the gold medal in the women's skeleton breaking the track record twice along the way and winning by more than a half a second.[3] At the end of the first day, on which Williams had established a 0.3s advantage over second placed Kerstin Szymkowiak, two protests were filed by other nations over the aerodynamics of Williams' helmet. The protests claimed that the helmet's spoilers were illegal and gave her an unfair aerodynamic advantage. The manufacturer claimed that they were integral to the helmet's design. Both protests were rejected by the International Bobsleigh and Tobogganing Federation, which had passed the helmet—with ridges—days earlier.[4][5][6][7]

Williams became the first British gold medallist in an individual event at the Winter Olympics for 30 years, following Robin Cousins' victory in figure skating at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, and the first British female individual Winter Olympics gold medallist since Jeannette Altweggin 1952.[8]

In June 2011, Williams appeared in an episode of the television show Top Gear in which she raced against a rally Mini Cooper at Lillehammer, Norway. Williams was 1.31 seconds slower in her skeleton run down the two mile Olympic track (1m 01.04s)than the car (59.73s) (which covered the same distance on a road that interweaves the circuit).[9]

She has also appeared in the CBBC series, 12 again.

Post-retirement[edit]Edit

On 1 May 2012, Williams announced her retirement from skeleton and admitted that her injuries were behind her quitting the sport.[10]

In January 2013, BBC Two announced Williams as a co-presenter on the 35th series of Ski Sunday.[11]

Approached by motorsports pundit and part-time rally driver Tony Jardine, Williams agreed to co-drive a Honda Civic, with the aim of competing in Rally GB. After gaining her licence, the pair successfully trained and qualified to compete in the 2013 Welsh-based Rally GB.[12]

Awards and honours[edit]Edit

Williams was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2010 Birthday Honours.[13] She was installed as an Honorary Freeman of the City of Bath on 5 June 2010.[14]

Personal life[edit]Edit

Williams was born in Cambridge and brought up in Bath, being educated at Hayesfield School Technology CollegeBeechen Cliff School and the University of Bath.[8]

Her father, Ian Williams, is a professor of Chemistry at the University of Bath, and her mother, Janet Williams, is a former midwife. Williams has a twin sister and an older brother.

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