February 15, 2014 / 5:03 PM / in 4 years

Skeleton: Russian Tretiakov rockets to gold

ROSA KHUTOR, Russia (Reuters) - Alexander Tretiakov won Russia’s first Olympic gold in skeleton on Saturday when he comfortably held off main rival Martins Dukurs of Latvia.

Russia's Alexander Tretiakov speeds down the track at the men's skeleton event during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics February 15, 2014. Picture taken with multiple exposure. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

The 28-year-old world champion, dubbed the “Russian Rocket,” thrilled an expectant and noisy crowd at the Sanki Sliding Centre to win by 0.81 seconds.

Dukurs, piped to gold by seven hundredths of a second by Canadian Jon Montgomery in Vancouver, reduced the Russian’s lead by a fraction on the third slide but Tretiakov kept calm and increased his advantage on the final run.

American Matthew Antoine took bronze, denying a second Dukurs brother a podium places. Tomass Dukurs finished fourth, just as he did four years ago.

Reporting by Justin Palmer, editing by Peter Rutherford

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