Stunning start for Talent squad
The latest line of talent making their way through the Great Britain Skeleton system enjoyed a stunning start to their international careers with a brace of medals and two more wider podium places in Lake Placid.
A dream debut for the next generation of British sliders saw Craig Thompson and Maddy Smith win bronze in the North America’s Cup in New York State, while Tim Hull and Kim Murray finished fourth and sixth respectively.
Thompson’s medal was particularly impressive given that injury has severely limited his ice time in his first full season with the programme.
The 23-year-old from Swindon came within four hundredths of a second of breaking the venue’s start record with a time of 4.73 seconds on his first run, with only South Korea’s World Championship silver medalist Sungbin Yun having ever gone faster at the top of the Lake Placid track.
Thompson moved up from fifth to third after his second run and the former Swindon Town Youth footballer and Swindon Harriers sprinter freely admits the result was way above his own expectations.
“I’m absolutely ecstatic. This is only my third week back after injury so I’m over the moon,” said Thompson, who is one of seven new additions to the Ignite sponsored GB Skeleton Talent Squad this season.
I went into the race without any expectations - I didn’t even expect to be in the top ten.
“It’s an incredible feeling to see the Union flag raised behind you and I can’t really believe this has happened. I can’t explain how proud I feel right now.”
Hull - a former badminton player from Stoke - sat in the silver medal position after Run 1 before eventually being piped to a medal by his team-mate in a packed race won by World Cup slider Ander Mirambell.
In the women’s event, Smith matched Thompson’s feat with a similarly impressive second run as she jumped up the rankings to stand on the podium alongside race winner Kimberley Bos, who was eighth in the recent World Championships in Austria.
“It’s a very special feeling,” added Smith, who will hope to follow a long line of successful sliders to have come through the UK Sport funded programme. “It was a strong field and I’m really surprised to have medalled.
I’m not one to get nervous or overly excited and I didn’t do anything differently or think any differently than I did in training.
"I had struggled in some of the early training, though, so it’s amazing to have come third on my debut race.”
The 21-year-old ex-sprint hurdler and county level swimmer was joined on the wider podium by 27-year-old Murray from the Isle of Wight, with Murray, Brogan Crowley, Thompson and Marcus Wyatt looking to continue the squad’s fine form in the final race of the season tomorrow afternoon.