SHELLEY Rudman reached the halfway point of her Olympic skeleton bob bid in an upbeat mood - but counting the cost of a poor first run at Whistler Sliding Centre.

The Pewsey slider, 28, finished day one of the two-day competition in joint seventh position as Great Britain teammate Amy Williams, from Bath, claimed the halfway lead after a brilliant opening slide.

While Rudman's hopes of Olympic gold faded after a disappointing first run, she at least kept herself in with a chance of a place on the podium after a much tidier second attempt.

The 2006 Olympic silver medallist, was down in a disappointing 11th position after the opening round, .83 of a second behind Williams, who set a superb new track record of 53.83 to lead by almost a third of a second.

With the first run delayed by around an hour because track temperatures were too high, Rudman went off second behind World Cup winner and pre-event favourite Mellisa Hollingsworth, and clocked 54.66 immediately putting her behind her close rival from the host nation.

But needing a much-improved performance to get herself back towards the top of the 20-man field, Rudman pulled it out in the second, clocking 54.26.

Rudman said: "I thought in my mind (of the first run), what a terrible run. It couldn't hae been worse.

"It was nice to make it a little bit better on the second run but I just didn't slide how I usually slide on that first run.

"I'm not making any excuses and I still need to improve a lot more to try and get in the mix.

"I definitely need to pick up more.

"It's not one of my favourite tracks, I'll be honest, but I need to just try and work it now and try to keep moving up spot by spot.

"I'm really pleased with my starts. They were the things I was most worried about, whether I would be able to keep up with the top girls, but they're great.''

Of teammate Williams' performance, she said: "She's doing really well isn't she? She's put out some really fantastic runs and I'm really pleased for her.

"When you've had a really good run like that you just want to be consistent and not get worse, hopefully get better.''

Hollingsworth, who had set a new track record during practice earlier this week, set a new mark again as she opened the competition with 54.18.

However, that proved only good enough for fifth place at the end of the opening phase as Williams put in a stunning performance to soar into the lead.

Williams clocked 54.13 in her second run, maintaining a comfortable advantage of .32 of a second over Germany's Kerstin Szymkowiak and Hollingsworth, who was in third, .48 of a second and four places in front of Rudman.

The third and fourth runs take place later this evening to decide the medals.