Former rugby-playing weightlifter Tionette Stoddard lifted her world ranking with a creditable 14th placing in the Olympic skeleton event at the Whistler Sliding Centre near Vancouver today.
After four heats and two days of racing, Dunedin's Stoddard used a borrowed sled to achieve her best ever push-time of 4.95 seconds in heat four and improve her ranking by three places.
Stoddard's overall time of 3.41.69 was 6.05 seconds behind gold medallist Amy Williams of the United Kingdom.
"I had a much better second day and I pushed better today than ever before. One of my objectives had been to beat last year's push record and I achieved that," she said.
Stoddard credited former world champion Bruce Sandford with her improvement after long hours of video analysis.
The pair shared some frustration at a lack of training time at the sliding centre Stoddard described as "relentless".
"Had I more time, I know I could have kept improving."
"I had the presence of mind to look up after the finish and think 'goodness me, I'm at the Olympics'. As I prepared to race, the support of the Kiwis in the crowd was lovely."
In the men's event, Ben Sandford challenged for a top-10 spot before finishing 11th in his second Olympics.
Meanwhile Iain Roberts withdrew from the heats when in 28th position after a training crash left him not feeling 100 percent.
Team chef de mission Pete Wardell said Roberts received a "pummelling" in his second heat and withdrew after consulting team medical staff.
source: newshub archive