By Emily Goddard

Shelley Rudman 010213February 1 - Shelley Rudman has become the first British woman to take the skeleton world title, with a 4min 38.60sec victory in her fourth and final run at the 2013 World Championships in St Moritz today.

Today's win bodes well for the current overall World Cup champion's chances of success at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, whose previous World Championships best was a fourth-place finish in 2011.

The Turin 2006 Olympic silver medallist's success will also allow UK Sport to breathe a sigh of relief, with skeleton being the highest funded winter sport after it was awarded £3.5 million ($5.5 million/€4.1 million) for the four-year cycle to the Games in 13 months' time.

"This is the one I've been training for all year," Rudman said after the race.

"I've medalled at every other major skeleton championship over my career but never at the Worlds, so to bring home gold is absolutely fantastic."

Shelley Rudman of Great Britain celebrates with her daughter Elli next to second placed Noelle Pikus Pace of USAShelley Rudman celebrates with her daughter Elli next to second placed Noelle Pikus-Pace

The 31-year-old went into the final run with a 0.82sec lead over her rivals and was fastest in all four runs on the track finishing 0.57 ahead of America's Noelle Pikus-Pace, who took silver, and Canadian Sarah Reid, who claimed bronze.

Rudman's teammate Lizzy Yarnold finished in fourth place, 0.13 behind Reid, to match her current world ranking.

Rudman is Britain's second world skeleton champion after her partner Kristan Bromley, who won gold at the men's World Championships in Altenberg in 2008.

The athletes will now move onto Sochi for the international training week and final race of the World Cup season and formal Olympic test event on February 15 and 16.

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