Montgomery grabs last-gasp gold

Sat Feb 20, 2010 1:00am EST
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By Martyn Herman

WHISTLER (Reuters) - Jon Montgomery snatched gold in a thrilling climax to the men's Olympic skeleton event on Friday to put a smile back on Canadian faces at the Whistler track.

Just two hours after a tearful Mellisa Hollingsworth apologized for "letting my country down" after blowing her chance of gold in the women's race, Montgomery produced a perfect fourth run then watched Martins Dukurs self-destruct.

Latvian Dukurs held a 0.18 advantage going into the final run but cracked on the final corner just when his country's first Winter Olympics gold looked to be in his grasp.

"That was what I was hoping for, that was what I set out to do at the top of the track before that fourth run," Montgomery, who won by seven hundredths of a second, less time than a human being takes to blink, told reporters.

"I was happy with that performance. I said to myself 'that's gotta be close to good enough. That's got to be close.' I was biting my nails for sure."

Dukurs and Montgomery had been locked in battle since Thursday's first slide, both of them smashing course records, as the rest of the field scrapped amongst themselves for bronze.

Montgomery was 0.28 seconds behind after Thursday's first run but chipped away at the deficit before launching his attack with a faultless descent in heat four.

It all proved too much for Dukurs.   Continued...