Lizzy Yarnold wins Lake Placid World Cup gold in skeleton return
Olympic skeleton champion Lizzy Yarnold made a winning return to the sport with victory in the season-opening Lake Placid World Cup in the United States.
She finished her two runs in a combined time of one minute 51.16 seconds, with Canada's Elisabeth Vathje second and Janine Flock of Austria third.
"I knew I had to bring my best and fortunately I did," said Yarnold.
The 26-year-old slider recently experienced her first crash during a training run in Germany - something she attributed to 'complacency' after her recent domination of the sport.
Despite the absence of now retired Olympic silver medallist Noelle Pikus-Pace and World champion Shelley Rudman, who is pregnant, Yarnold showed no signs of overconfidence.
The Bath-based athlete led by 0.30 secs at the halfway stage before securing victory by 0.77 secs with a solid second run on the track she also claimed gold on last season.
"With it being early in the season I was a bit apprehensive that I wouldn't be fast enough," admitted Yarnold.
"There have been so many retirements, but the younger athletes are so good and that is pushing me to go quicker."
Team-mate Rose McGrandle finished an impressive sixth, while World Cup debutant Laura Deas was 12th.
|2014-15 Skeleton-Bobsleigh World Cups|
|Lake Placid, USA - 8-13 Dec||St. Moritz, Switzerland - 19-25 Jan|
|Calgary, Canada - 15-20 Dec||La Plagne, France - 26 Jan-1 Feb|
|Altenberg, Germany - 5-11 Jan||Igls, Austria - 2-8 Feb|
|Königssee, Germany - 12-18 Jan||Sochi, Russia - 10-15 Feb|
Latvian Martins Dukurs took the victory in the men's skeleton event, but it was a difficult day for Britain's Dom Parsons and Ed Smith who finished 14th and 18th respectively.
In the men's season-opening two-man bobsleigh competition Britain's Lamin Deen and breakman Jordan Smallin were 16th in a race won by German duo Francesco Friedrich and Thorsten Margis.
Saturday will see the women's two-man and men's four-man bobsleigh events take place in Lake Placid.