Originally a track athlete specializing in the 400 m hurdles Shelly Rudman studied at Bath University, which was the training base for the British bobsleigh and skeleton programmes, and was persuaded to try skeleton for the first time in 2002. She competed in the World Junior Championships a year later and in the 2004-05 season became the first Briton to win a Europa Cup race. Rudman was a consistent top ten finisher during the 2005-06 World Cup season but her silver medal performance at the Cesana Pariol Olympic track was a surprise as she had never placed above 4th at a World Cup event. She struggled with injury the following season whilst the birth of a daughter to Shelley and her partner Kristian Bromley curtailed most of the 2007-08 season. Rudman returned to the World Cup circuit in 2008-09 and won her first victories, at Igls and on the Cresta Run at St. Moritz.