By Mike Rowbottom

Shelley Rudman_close_upFebruary 10 - Britain's Shelley Rudman has won her first overall Skeleton bobsleigh World Cup title after three consecutive years of finishing runner-up.

The jubilant 30-year-old revealed after her decisive performance in Calgary that she had promised her father, Jack, who required life-saving surgery last February after suffering a severe brain haemorrhage, that she would be doing everything possible to go one better this season.

The Turin 2006 Winter Olympic silver medallist, who earned her overall gold by finishing ahead of the event leader, Marion Thees of Germany, in what was the final race in the series, dedicated her achievement to her mother – Josie – and her father.

"It's been such a tough year for us all with dad suffering a massive stroke last year," she said.

"He really wanted me to win the overall WC title and he had so much faith in me that I could, so I promised him that this year I would give it a good go and see if I could deliver.

"He's made a remarkable recovery since last February and I'm so happy.

"Both my mum and dad are so proud of my win today.

"Everyone has been so supportive back home and I really would like to say a big thank you to everyone who has supported and kept believing in me."

Shelley Rudman_with_World_Cup_trophy
This was the fourth year in a row that Rudman (pictured centre) had arrived at the final World Cup race in second place overall, and on this occasion she achieved her cherished ambition as she finished third on the day in a race won by her British team mate, Lizzy Yarnold (left).

Thees could only manage tenth place in Calgary, which meant Rudman finished 49 points clear to become only the second British winner of the World Cup title after Alex Coomber, who earned that achievement in 2002, the year she won an Olympic bronze medal.

Thees finished in silver medal position overall, with fellow German Anja Huber taking the bronze position.

Rudman, who has a four-year-old daughter with her fiancé Kristen Bromley – twice winner of men's Skeleton World Cup title – learned of her 59-year-old father's perilous position after returning from a European competition and went straight to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford where he was undergoing his operation.

Jack Rudman, a former Army boxer and keen rugby player, may have owed his survival to the fact that he had crashed his car into the back of a lorry while driving home and only discovered he had a blood clot on the brain after being taken to hospital for a CAT scan.

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