The Irish female bobsled team finished 17th out of 21 teams at the Vancouver Olympics -- but defeated the British who crashed out of the competition.

Pilot Aoife Hoey and brakewoman Claire Bergin moved up to 17th in the final standings, an improvement from 20th where they were after the first round.

That was mainly due to the fact that Britain and Germany crashed on their final efforts.

"We're thrilled to finish 17th and will hold our heads up high in the knowledge we did our best for our country on what was the fastest and toughest track we have ever encountered," Hoey said afterwards.

The former Irish triple jump champion added: "Winter sports have got a big boost. We've been trying to get media for back home. People have the impression that you're from Ireland and you don't have snow but just because you don't have something doesn't mean you can't do it.

"We want to encourage people to follow their dreams.''

Kaillie Humphries of Canada won the gold.