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Brits break bobsled ice

February 21, 2009 |  9:15 am

  Nicola Minichiello drives Gillian Cooke (hidden) to a world title Saturday.  (Peter Morgan / Associated Press)

Rule, Britannia.

In bobsleds?

Until today, that hadn't happened at the worlds or Olympics since a British team won the two-man event at the 1965 worlds.

And it never had happened to Nicola Minichiello in any international event since she began driving a two-woman sled in 2002.

But Minichiello, 30, and neophyte brakewoman Gillian Cooke, 26, the Scottish indoor record holder in the long jump, utterly dominated the competition Friday and today to win the 2009 world title in Lake Placid, N.Y.

Fastest in three of the four runs, the Brits easily overcame a slight deficit after Friday to beat runners-up Shauna Rohbock and Elana Meyers of the United States by 38/100ths of a second, a significant margin in bobsled.

Rohbock, a 2006 Olympic silver medalist, and Meyers had led by 4/100ths before the third run.

"It's hard to have four consistent runs,'' Rohbock said after her sled was 2-1-2-3, losing most of the time in the final run.  "But that's what you need, and Nic had it.''

--Philip Hersh