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Canada's Mellisa Hollingsworth says she knows her family and friends are still proud of her, despite a disappointing fifth-place finish Friday. ((Shaun Botterill/Getty Images))

Mellisa Hollingsworth entered the Vancouver Olympics as an overwhelming favourite to reach the podium in women's skeleton.

On Friday, she left the Whistler Sliding Centre in tears.

The 29-year-old from Eckville, Alta., sat second overall heading into her fourth and final run.

With a strong start, it looked as though she would at least reach the podium — but part way down the track she bounced twice against the wall. The slight error slowed her down enough to send her sliding into fifth, with a cumulative time of three minutes, 36.60 seconds.

"It's really hard. I feel like I've let my entire country down," Hollingsworth told CTV through tears. Hollingsworth was this season's overall World Cup champion, having reached the podium in seven of eight races.

If Canada boasted a podium lock at Vancouver, she was it.

"I still didn't give up. I didn't give up," she said.

As Hollingsworth dreams crumbled, Great Britain's Amy Williams' were realized.

The 27-year-old didn't even reach the podium on the World Cup circuit this season. But she led the pack through each of her four runs en route to the gold medal with a cumulative time of 3:35.64. She set a track record of 53.83 seconds in Thursday's run.

Germans Kerstin Szymkowiak and Anja Huber won the silver and bronze, respectively. American Noelle Pikus-Pace finished fourth.

Amy Gough of Abbotsford, B.C., finished seventh with a combined time of 3:37.01. Michelle Kelly of Fort. St. John, B.C., finished 13th, clocking at 3:40.79.

Questions about Williams' equipment

The Associated Press said a detailed protest has been filed about Williams's helmet.

The protest was filed less than an hour after Williams clinched the gold medal.

A protest about the helmet was initially filed by the U.S team and supported by five others, including Canada, on Thursday. The FIBT, skeleton's international governing body, ruled Thursday night that the helmet was legal.

There has been no word from the FIBT on whether or not it will hear the latest protest. 

Heartbroken 'hero'

Hollingsworth won bronze at the Winter Games in 2006, Canada's first-ever Olympic medal in skeleton.

A rough crash at the Whistler Sliding Centre in March 2009 left Hollingsworth with a nasty gash on her chin and a wrecked sled.

The crash left Hollingsworth shaken and for a time she refused to start from the top of the Whistler track. Eventually, riding her sled White Lightning, she overcame her fear of the incredible speed of the Whistler track.

Despite her disappointing finish Friday, she said she knew her friends and family were still proud of her.

Before her final run, Darcy Hollingsworth, who calls his daughter his "hero," wrote a blog for CBCSports.ca."My heart is in my throat as I see strangers with signs, shirts, flag, banners-all cheering for my little girl," he wrote.

"They want to know how I'm feeling so I tell them: [s]cared, nervous, anxious and much more. But most of all, blessed. We are the luckiest people in the world."

A feeling that, undoubtedly, remains unchanged.