OLYMPIC silver medallist Shelley Rudman has vowed to keep her friends close and her enemies even closer in a bid to ruin home favourite Melissa Hollingsworth’s Vancouver Games dream.
Britain’s 28-year-old skeleton star pipped her great mate and rival to second spot in Turin four years ago but has struggled to overhaul her nemesis on the road to Canada.
Alberta-born Hollingsworth finished one place ahead of Rudman four times en-route to claiming the overall World Cup title in Igls last month – with the Brit again playing the bridesmaid. And with the Canadian already sitting on home advantage, the 2009 European champion admits there will be no room for sentiment in the race for gold.
“I’m pretty excited because we are quite good friends as well and she’s a really strong slider at the moment,” said Rudman, who was Team GB’s only medallist in Turin.
“Melissa is a good friend and I hope she does well but I’m British and I’m very competitive and so I hope I do better. But we are neck and neck and we have been all season so although she’s strong I’m on her tail.
“The Canadians have had 300 runs and I’ll have 30 as have all the other international sliders.
“So it will be purely about if I can have two good days. I’m just going to have to give it my all and I can only do that and if I do that then whatever happens, happens. But there are about four of us now, the two German girls are really strong as well now and Melissa. We are really, really strong now so it will be who can pull it out of the bag over the two days.
“Pretty much all the competitors travel to each circuit and we might see each other on the autobahns going to the next venue and everyone’s pretty good, they are like little family networks. But as soon as you race you are straight in race mode and you don’t talk so much, but outside of that everyone’s really happy.”
While Rudman has ruled out any old pals act in Vancouver the presence of fiance Kristan Bromley in the men’s skeleton has ensured a strong family presence in Canada.
And with two-year-old daughter Ella set for her first Winter Games experience, Rudman admits it isn’t just the happy couple who have been bitten by the Olympic bug.
“We’ve got Ella who comes on the circuit with us and the international nations are great with her,” added Rudman.“She’s meeting so many different people and everybody kind of takes their turn playing with her and looking after her which is really great.
“She’s learning some German words as well now and different nationalities which is great.
“We have to be organised and it takes a lot of time, effort, and a lot of money to get Ella out on the circuit but we wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Sometimes Ella is on the start line and I hear her go ‘Go go go Mummy’ and I think I’m not even gone yet. It’s great to have her around and she has become a great mascot for us as well.”
l Lloyds TSB, proud partner of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and supporter of Team GB in Vancouver 2010. Visit LloydsTSB.com/London2012.