Morning Chronicle - 'Unreal' Narracott grabs Australia's first Olympic medal in sliding

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'Unreal' Narracott grabs Australia's first Olympic medal in sliding
'Unreal' Narracott grabs Australia's first Olympic medal in sliding

'Unreal' Narracott grabs Australia's first Olympic medal in sliding

Jaclyn Narracott earned Australia's first Olympic medal in a sliding sport Saturday with silver in the women's skeleton, three years after she nearly quit, as Germany continued their domination of the high-speed events at the Beijing Winter Games.

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Hannah Neise claimed victory with a combined time of 4min 7.62sec, meaning German racers have now won all six events so far at the Yanqing National Sliding Centre.

"It's mind-blowing, it will take some time to sink in," said Neise, 21, who captured Olympic gold having won the junior world title in 2021.

A tearful Narracott, the overnight leader, grabbed an Australian flag in the finish area after taking silver with a time 0.62sec slower.

"Unreal, unbelievable, this means everything -- the medal, the childhood dream come true, " said the British-based athlete who nearly quit in 2019 after suffering concussion.

"From a sliding point of view, to be the first is pretty cool.

"It makes all the tears and questioning and all the hard work and being away from family absolutely worth it," she added.

Her uncle is Paul Narracott, the sprinter and bobsledder who in 1992 became the first Australian to compete at both the Summer and Winter Games.

Narracott said she was happy to have bragging rights in her family: "100 percent".

Neise had earlier usurped her in the rankings by breaking the track record in the third heat.

The German was also fastest in the decisive fourth race, clocking a top speed of 128 kilometres per hour (79 miles per hour).

Dutch racer Kimberley Bos, this winter's overall World Cup winner, produced two stunning performances to take bronze at 0.84sec back despite having been 10th after the first heat on Friday.

The Olympic silver medal caps a stunning few weeks for the 31-year-old Narracott, who is based at Bath University in England, where Britain developed its own tradition in skeleton.

She became the first Australian to win a World Cup race at the iconic St Moritz track last month.

German racers has now won nine of the available 18 medals in the sliding events at these Games.

Germany could sweep the gold medals as their racers have already won the four luge and two skeleton events with four bobsleigh disciplines to come.

That sliding success has lifted Germany to the top of the medals table with eight golds.