Julie Bresset, a 23-year-old from France competing in her first Olympics, took advantage of a mistake by defending gold medalist Sabine Spitz of Germany on a rough section of the picturesque course in the English countryside, and then gradually pulled away to win gold Saturday.
Her time was 1 hour, 30 minutes, 52 seconds, more than a minute ahead of Spitz.
Spitz recovered from a crash and added silver to her collection of medals along with gold in Beijing, she won bronze at the 2004 Athens Games. Georgia Gould, 32, earned that color Saturday, the first medal won by an American mountain biker since Susan DeMattai's bronze in 1996.
Gould, formerly of Ketchum and a mountain biking icon in the Sun Valley area, finished eighth in Beijing.
"I knew that a medal was possible. I knew that on my best day I was capable of winning the race," said Gould, who has won numerous national championships. "Julie rode a great race today. She was at the front at the start, which was smart."
Gould, who now lives in Fort Collins, Colo., finished six seconds behind Spitz.