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Luge and Skeleton Thursday, 21 February, 2002, 04:43 GMT
Coomber claims bronze for Britain
Great Britain's Alex Coomber was blinded by heavy snow during the skeleton final
Snow hampered Coomber's bid for gold
Alex Coomber has won Great Britain's first medal of the Salt Lake City Games after claiming bronze in the women's skeleton final.

RAF officer Coomber, who was the hot favourite for gold, finished behind American duo Tristan Gale and Lea Ann Parsley.

Coomber said: "I'm ecstatic, that was absolutely brilliant... I can't be disappointed with an Olympic medal.

This is indescribable - it's the most nerve-wracking experience of my life

Alex Coomber after finishing third
"The worst moment is when you come over the line and you don't immediately know what your position is.

"I had a bump on the 11th curve, I've been having trouble with that all week.

"The snow didn't help, but I was not too worried, I knew I could still go fast," the 28-year-old added.

Heavy snow, which can cause problems with momentum, greeted Coomber's arrival at the Utah Olympic Park track.

She made light of the difficult conditions by posting a creditable time of 52.48 seconds in the first run.

That was enough to push her into second place, but her time was later eclipsed by Lea Ann Parsley, who finished just 0.01 of a second behind her American compatriot Gale.

Alex Coomber raises her arms aloft after clinching the bronze medal
Coomber was thrilled with a bronze medal
The weather and track conditions suited the heavier sliders better and Coomber could not improve on her third place in the second run.

Sports Minister Richard Caborn was delighted for Coomber and said: "This is great news.

"Congratulations to Alex Coomber on winning Britain's first medal at Salt Lake City in one of the newest Olympic sports."

Women's skeleton final - combined finishing times:

1) T Gale (USA) - 1:45.11
2) LA Parsley (USA) - 1:45.21
3) A Coomber (GB) - 1:45.37
4) D Sartor (Ger) - 1:45.53
5) M Pedersen (Swi) - 1:45.55
6) L Alcock (Can) - 1:45.69
7) S Hanzlik (Ger) - 1:45.95
=) E Mironova (Rus) - 1:45.95
9) D Locati (It) - 1:46.65
10) M Kelly (Can) - 1:47.32
11) L Couch (NZ) - 1:47.80
12) E Nakayama (Jpn) - 1:48.72
13) C Ninos (Gre) - 1:49.28

Bronze medallist Alex Coomber
"I didn't care what colour the medal was"
BBC Sport's James Pearce
Gets reaction from Alex Coomber's family and friends
Links to more Luge and Skeleton stories are at the foot of the page.

Links to more Luge and Skeleton stories

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