Schmid dedicates award to team
Andi Schmid has heaped praise on his whole team after he was named Coach of the Year at the Team GB Ball last week.
Schmid joined Olympic gold and bronze medalists Lizzy Yarnold and Laura Deas in securing a clean sweep of the prizes for British Skeleton at the Royal Horticultural Halls in London but he was keen to deflect the plaudits back on to the rest of his coaching group and support staff.
“It was a big honour to receive the award but I’ve always said that success is a team achievement,” said Schmid, who has been involved in seven Olympic medals and hundreds of international podium places in his 17 years with the British programme.
“I might have been the one standing up and getting the applause but I saw it as further recognition of the programme’s achievements as opposed to people saying ‘well done’ to me as an individual.
“The reason we have enjoyed so much success is because we work so well as a group. That’s everyone from the athletes to the Head of Performance and the ice coaches; from the strength and conditioning team to the physios; from performance lifestyle support to nutritionists and pathway people; from the technical team and research and innovation staff to the psychologists and back office support. It is one big effort and everyone plays their part.
One of the most obvious things in PyeongChang was that we were a team. We had so many comments on how close we were as a group and our athletes all commented on how important that was for their own confidence and performance. For me, it was a massive part of why we did so well.
“That was extra special because we had so many changes to our staff after Sochi in 2014. We had to build a new support team and it took time for us to all come together. The staff didn’t have much Olympic experience when we got to PyeongChang but they had prepared so well and they adapted to the environment brilliantly. All their hard work in preparing paid off - they dealt with every situation that was thrown at them and they stuck together all through the Games. Seeing them shine on the biggest stage - just like the athletes did - was a very proud moment for me.”
Schmid was also equally quick to thank the wider support network who made the three Olympic medals in PyeongChang and the four more from Sochi, Vancouver, Turin and Salt Lake City possible.
The former World Champion admits it has been a huge boost to have key partners buying into the goal of making Britain a great Skeleton nation.
“Knowing we have the backing of organisations like UK Sport, the BOA (British Olympic Association) and the EIS (English Institute of Sport), plus our commercial partners, has always been a big boost,” added Schmid.
“We’ve never felt like we were really on our own, even when we were a much smaller team with a lot less funding. It’s not just their expertise that has been helpful - it’s also been the support of key personnel and that feeling that they understand what we are trying to achieve.
For me personally, these key organisations in Great Britain have given me the opportunity to help create something special. They believed in me and the team and I will always be grateful for that.
“Although I am an Austrian, a large part of me feels British because of my experiences here. Great Britain allowed me to dream my dream. It is not a case of this country just being a second home - I feel it in me and it is in my heart as well as my head. To receive this award from the BOA is a really special feeling.”