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Women's skeleton was introduced to the Olympic programme in 2002. It seemed normal that the first champion should be a relative newcomer to the sport.
Tristan Gale, a resident of Salt Lake City, learned about skeleton at a bobsleigh tryout. The 2001-2002 season was her first year on the World Cup circuit. Before the Games, Gale had never placed higher than eighth in a World Cup event. However, competing at home at the Salt Lake City Winter Games, she recorded the fastest time of the first run and then extended her lead in the second run to beat teammate Lea Ann Parsley by one tenth of a second.