— The Associated Press

WHISTLER, British Columbia — Amy Williams’ helmet was bumpy. Her ride to Olympic gold, perfectly smooth.

Williams finished off a surprising run to the women’s skeleton gold medal at the Vancouver Games on Friday, giving Britain its first individual Winter Olympics title since figure skater Robin Cousins prevailed at Lake Placid in 1980.

Williams finished four runs at the Whistler Sliding Center in 3 minutes, 35.64 seconds. Germans took silver and bronze, with Kerstin Szymkowiak ending up 0.56 seconds off Williams’ pace and Anja Huber third.

”It was the perfect performance,” Huber said. ”She’s the right Olympic champion.”

Not everyone agrees.

A person with direct knowledge of the case told The Associated Press that a second protest was filed quickly after the race about the helmet Williams used, adding that it was ”more detailed” than the one denied a day earlier by the International Federation of Bobsleigh and Tobogganing.

The FIBT didn’t immediately say when it would hear the latest protest.

A group of nations, including the United States, argue that Williams’ helmet doesn’t conform to aerodynamic standards.

”It’s pretty much the same as everyone else’s helmet,” Williams said. ”And if people want to try and play mind games that’s fine.”

If the protest is upheld, Noelle Pikus-Pace might get a medal after all.

Pikus-Pace, the longtime racer from Eagle Mountain, Utah, finished fourth in her final race before retirement, missing bronze by a mere 0.10 seconds.

”I knew I wouldn’t be satisfied unless I gave it everything I had,” Pikus-Pace said. ”And I think I did that.”

Perhaps the biggest surprise of all, Mellisa Hollingsworth — Canada’s World Cup overall champion and gold-medal favorite — had a disaster-filled bumpy final ride down the track, falling from second to fifth after skidding from one wall to the other.

CURLING: After an 0-4 start for the U.S. men, out went 2006 bronze medalist skip John Shuster and in came alternate Chris Plys, with vice skip Jason Smith throwing the last rock. The result was a 4-3 victory over France, which came in with only one win.

The women were 0-3 until skip Debbie McCormick bumped out a Russian stone with her last rock, giving the U.S. a 6-4 win — its first after a start that had put her stewardship in jeopardy, too.

CROSS-COUNTRY: Marit Bjoergen pulled away midway through the freestyle portion of the race and was never threatened the rest of the way in winning the women’s 15-kilometer pursuit. She also became the first winner of multiple gold medals in Vancouver and the first with three medals.

Anna Haag of Sweden won a three-way sprint for the silver, with favorite Justyna Kowalczyk of Poland getting bronze in a photo finish.

Morgan Arritola was the top American, finishing 38th.

Also, Slovenia’s Petra Majdic is done for a while. Doctors discovered four broken ribs and a collapsed lung, all sustained before winning the bronze in the individual classical sprint.

She was among the favorites for the 30K classical race.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.