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Thrill of victory, agony of defeat for Canadians skeleton racers

Jon Montgomery first Canadian to win a medal in Whistler

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"That's when the tears started because obviously I knew I had the potential," she said, speaking to the media through her tears. "I wasn't trying to hang on to a silver medal. Half a second, I don't think, is anything on this track. As you can see, I just lost by half a second."

She explained that as she came out of the sixth corner she hit the wall and it caused some oscillations in turn seven and that's when the problems really happened.

Hollingsworth's mistakes clinched a victory for Amy Williams from Great Britain, who was last to race. Williams' run ultimately put the Canadian in fifth spot.

"Amy! Amy! Amy!" chanted half-naked British fans, desperate to see their country secure their first gold medal of these Games.

She did not disappoint. Germany's Kerstin Szymkowiak won silver and Anja Huber, also of Germany, took the bronze.

After her run, and before heading to doping control and before even having a chance to hug her parents who had flown over from England, Williams was asked if she had any idea how her life had just changed.

"I've not got a clue," she laughed. "I'll find out when I wake up!"

Williams also had a famous fan cheering her and the other British and Canadian athletes on from the press area.

Sir Richard Branson, who was in Whistler for one night, applauded as Williams raced to gold.

"I thought I'd come and lend my support," said the billionaire adventurer.

"I think the Games are great, despite what the British press say," he said. "I'm speaking as hard as I can to support Canada because I think it's done a great job and it's lovely to be here.

"I've been to a lot of Winter Games and I think this is one of the best I've ever been to."

Some of that criticism has included the Own the Podium program that poured money into sport to help Canadians win medals in 2010.

Hollingsworth dismissed the obvious question: is there too much pressure on Canadians to bring home the hardware?

"No, it's not pressure," said the Alberta native. "I was ready. It's just one mistake and one mistake like that can happen in a World Cup, a selection race, a training run. It just happened to happen in the Olympic Games.

"You're in a sport that measures in hundredths of a second. There's just really no room for error."