Lizzy Yarnold held her nerve in the skeleton to clinch Great Britain's first gold medal of the Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Yarnold led by a huge 0.78secs going into the final slide after breaking the track record and quickly extended that lead in the top section of the fourth descent.
Eventual silver medallist Noelle Pikus-Pace had appeared to eat into the deficit with a fine closing slide but Yarnold's speed has been exceptional all week and she kept it together to claim the gold.
She finished an impressive 0.97secs ahead of American Pikus-Pace with Elena Nikitina of Russia 0.44secs back in bronze.
The victory for Yarnold meant she emulated Amy Williams' gold medal performance in Vancouver four years ago.
The 25-year-old had gone into the final two runs at the Sanki Sliding Center with a commanding 0.44 second advantage over Pikus-Pace after a commanding performance on Thursday.
And despite inevitable fears of how she might cope with the pressure of holding such a big overnight lead, she responded with a sensational run when she went first in the third run as night fell over the Caucasus mountains.
Just as Williams had set a track record in her third run four years ago to effectively rubber-stamp gold, Yarnold's run left her 0.78 clear of Pikus-Pace going into the final run.
But victory was still far from certain with home favourite Nikitina looking a particular threat having trailed Yarnold by only 0.05 seconds after the first heat before a bump midway down her second run knocked her back into third.
Yarnold celebrated after her gold-clinching final run by running towards the British fans in the crowd holding aloft the Union Jack and beaming with joy.
Williams was present to witness Yarnold's piece of history, which came after a dominant World Cup season that saw her win the overall title with four wins and three more podium finishes from the season's eight races.
Yarnold's parents Clive and Judith, her two sisters Katie and Charlotte, and her boyfriend James Roche, who is a sled technician with the British bobsleigh team, were present to witness her famous triumph.
Shelley Rudman finished in 16th place with a combined time of 3:56.47.