Quartet earn Olympic Skeleton spots

Quartet earn Olympic Skeleton spots

The British Olympic Association has today selected the four skeleton athletes who will represent Team GB at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games.

Laura Deas, Dom Parsons, Jerry Rice and Lizzy Yarnold will compete in South Korea as Team GB looks to continue its proud record of recent success in the sport.

Yarnold is aiming to become the first British Winter Olympian to retain her title, with her success in Sochi four years ago following on from gold for Amy Williams in 2010, silver for Shelley Rudman in 2006 and bronze for Alex Coomber in 2002.

Yarnold’s winning margin of 0.97 seconds in Sochi was the largest in Olympic history as she registered two track records and the fastest down time in each of the four runs.

She won every major accolade in the sport in just 407 days across 2014 and 2015, with an overall World Cup season win, a European Championship title and a World Championship crown completing a remarkable 14 month stint for the former heptathlete.

The 29-year-old took a season away from the ice in 2015/16 but returned to the circuit last season, winning a silver World Cup medal in Lake Placid and a bronze at the 2017 World Championships in Konigssee in February.

The current World Cup campaign began with another bronze in the opening race in Placid in November and concluded with a fourth-place finish in Konigssee last Friday as she placed ninth in the overall World Cup rankings.

Deas, who started skeleton back in 2009 through the UK Sport talent programme, Girls4Gold, will be making her first appearance at the Olympic Winter Games having represented Great Britain at all three World Championships since Sochi. She was seventh in the 2015 World Championships, 11th in 2016 and 10th in 2017.

The 29-year-old ended this season seventh in the overall World Cup rankings, having been sixth in 2016/17, seventh in 2015/16 and fifth in 2014/15.

A former professional eventer, who had captained Wales in international competitions, Deas won her maiden World Cup race in Altenberg in November 2015 and added a bronze medal in Placid the following January.

She was fifth in the first two races of this season and was only outside of the top 12 in one of the eight World Cup races.

Like Yarnold, Parsons will be competing at his second Games having placed 10th in Sochi.

The 30-year-old was eighth at the most recent World Championships in February 2017 and was inside the top 10 in five of that season’s World Cup races.

His best result in the current season came just over a week ago when he finished joint fourth in St. Moritz in the penultimate World Cup race of the campaign.

A former 400m runner who made his GB Skeleton debut in January 2008 and narrowly missed out on a Junior World Championship medal two years later, Parsons won World Cup bronze in Calgary in 2013. He has twice been in the top five in the end-of-season world standings.

A mechanical engineering student, Parsons is partway through a PHD at the University of Bath.

Jerry Rice is set for his first Olympic appearance having only made his GB debut in early 2013.

The 27-year-old made his first World Cup appearance in the final race of the 2015/16 season when he finished 15th in Konigssee and his first taste of a global championships came at the same track in February 2017, when he placed 19th in the World Championships.

Having been crowned the 2016/17 Intercontinental Cup Champion Rice competed in seven of the eight World Cup races this season. His best result to date is an 11th place finish in St. Moritz earlier this month and he concluded the World Cup campaign with 14th spot in Konigssee on Friday.

A former semi-professional rugby league and union player who played full back in both codes for Hemel Stags and Amersham & Chiltern, Rice spent time playing Sevens in the summer but developed a love of winter sports during two seasons sliding the world-famous Cresta run in St Moritz.