Winter Olympics: Lizzy Yarnold trains fastest in women's skeleton

Lizzy Yarnold: In impressive form in both official training heats in Sochi

Lizzy Yarnold underlined her position as hot favourite for the women's skeleton gold medal by recording the fastest times in both official training heats at the Sanki Sliding Center in Rosa Khutor on Tuesday.

The Kent slider went 0.10 seconds faster than Russian Maria Orlova in her opening heat on Tuesday morning, and extended that advantage to 0.37 seconds over Canadian Sarah Reid in the second run.

Yarnold's closest rival, American Noelle Pikus-Pace, chose to sit out the optional training runs, reportedly in order to protect a lingering back problem.

Yarnold will have two more official training runs on Wednesday before she begins her quest to become the fourth consecutive Olympic women's skeleton gold medallist from Great Britain over four runs, with the first two scheduled for Thursday.

"It was good fun - I have two more (training) runs left and each run has to be a real experiment. I have to try as many lines as I can and work out what's the best thing to do in the race."

Lizzy Yarnold

She said: "It was good fun - I have two more (training) runs left and each run has to be a real experiment. I have to try as many lines as I can and work out what's the best thing to do in the race.

"The competition is so fierce. We're a group of very, very strong and ambitious women, so I'm very proud to compete alongside them. I'm just here to do my best and to do myself justice."

Gold for Geisenberger

Meanwhile, Germany's Natalie Geisenberger won her first Olympic gold medal in the women's luge singles and the second for her country in three days.

Geisenberger followed in the footsteps of Felix Loch who won the men's event on Sunday and was at the bottom of the run to congratulate his compatriot as she claimed victory.

Another German, Tatjana Huefner - who came to Sochi as reigning champion - was second, a massive 1.139 seconds behind the winner, while Erin Hamlin finished in third place winning the US team's first singles medal after 50 years of trying.

A delighted Geisenberger said afterwards: "I'm currently in my best form ever. I'm amazed, the chance to win Olympic title may not happen again and I'm really happy that I took this occasion to win."