(Reuters) – Germany’s Jacqueline Loelling capped a dominant season by claiming her first skeleton world championship gold on Saturday, sliding to victory on her home track in Konigssee.
Leading going into the third and final run, the World Cup leader produced a nerveless slide to stay in front of compatriot and defending champion Tina Hermann.
Olympic champion Lizzy Yarnold of Britain moved up into the bronze-medal position after two strong runs on Saturday.
Yarnold, who returned this season after taking 18 months out of the sport but has struggled to hit peak form, was fourth after Friday’s opening day with the second of the day’s two runs abandoned because of heavy snow.
“It’s very emotional. I really feel like this is the beginning and this is where the hard work starts,” Yarnold said.
“I feel as though I’ve had a season to get back into competition and now I know how to race again.”
She will have her work cut out trying to retain her Olympic title in Pyeongchang next year with Germany looking especially strong after the emergence of Loelling.
The 22-year-old won the European title this year and has posted two victories and two runners-up finishes on the World Cup this season to lead the standings.
“It feels great,” she said. “I didn’t expect to win, though I had perhaps hoped a little bit. But after the last (World Cup) race here, my goal was definitely to get a medal.”
(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Clare Fallon)