By Duncan Mackay in Vancouver

February 24 - Britain's last realistic hopes of adding to the Olympic gold medal won by Amy Williams in the skeleton last week disappeared when the curling team led by David Murdoch were defeated in a play-off and the two woman bobsleigh team of Nicola Minichiello and Gillian Cooke crashed.

It was a crushing disappointment for Britain's team as both were world champions.

Minichiello's Olympic dream turned sour when she lost control of her sled on the third run, flipping it over before sliding down the track with both her and Cooke trapped inside.

The pair, who had already blown their chances by finishing in 10th after two runs, escaped largely unscathed although they opted against taking part in the fourth run with Cooke complaining of a minor leg injury.

Minichiello said: "We're devastated.

"It's everything we've been training for and working for for the past 15 years.

"After yesterday we just had to go for it.

"We knew it was going to take everything we had but we just lost it.

"We just pushed a little bit too much.

"We just let it ride a bit too much.

"We came out of curve 11 and just pulled it and it tipped.

"That's it."

Kaillie Humphries won the gold medal in Olympic women's bobsled Wednesday, leading a Canadian 1-2 finish.

Humphries and Heather Moyse finished four runs down the Whistler Sliding Center track in 3min 32.28sec.

Helen Upperton and Shelley-Ann Brown took silver in 3:33.13 and Erin Pac of the United States won the bronze in 3:33.40.

Murdoch's men were beaten 7-6 by Sweden in the extra end of their play-off, with the prize at stake a semi-final match against Canada tomorrow and at the very least a play-off for the bronze medal.

It is the second Olympic nightmare for Murdoch (pictured), who was in a similar position as the pre-Games favourite when he headed to Turin four years ago, only to fall short and lose the third-placed play-off to the United States.

Murdoch said: "It's heartbreaking - it's the worst result possible as far as the team is concerned.

"We just put ourselves in a position where every game mattered so much at the end of the week. We had our backs to the wall and we just didn't finish off matches the way we're used to.

"We did everything we possibly could for the last two years.

"We trained six days a week and practised as much as we possibly could and came into this week as world champions.

"But sometimes weeks just don't go for you."

Murdoch's men will be expected to regroup to play in the Scottish Championship play-offs just 48 hours after their arrival back in Britain - with the prize at stake the chance to defend their world title in Italy.

As for the longer term, Murdoch refused to rule out the possibility of captaining the British team to Sochi in four years' time and continuing to chase the one major medal that still eludes him.

He said: "Sochi's four years away and there's a lot of thinking time before that.

"The thing missing for me is an Olympic medal.

"I'd certainly like to go back.

"We're more than capable - we just need to be sharper in Olympic week."

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