Weston positive about extra pressure

Weston positive about extra pressure

Matt Weston admits that his status as reigning champion creates extra pressure ahead of this week’s World Championships but he insists that isn’t affecting his mindset as he looks to make more history in Winterberg.

Weston won last year’s showpiece event in stunning style in as he beat the field by 1.79 seconds in St Moritz.

Success in Switzerland was a first in 15 years for a male British slider and a repeat this week would put Weston out on his own as the only GB slider – male or female – to win multiple world titles.

The 26-year-old is fully aware that he is viewed as one of the favourites for global glory but he is confident he has the tools to put that weight of expectation to one side and focus on the job in hand.

“I do feel a bit of extra pressure going into these World Championships but I'm also very excited,” said Weston.

“I went into last year as a medal hope and I knew I could win it if I performed at my best but going in as the reigning champ is a bit different.

“I don’t see that as a bad thing, though. I’ve had that pressure at World Cup races because I won a lot of them last year so, although the stage is a bit bigger, it isn’t something that I’m concerned about. The experience I had at last year’s World Championships is definitely a good thing. 

The outside expectations might be bigger but I’ve always had those expectations of myself anyway.

“I enjoy the big moments and I’ve now got a good amount of knowledge in the bank about how to deal with them. It’s important to stay calm, focussed and be in the here and now and I think I’m pretty good at that. 

“Skeleton is about racing the track and the clock rather than racing anybody else so I know I’ve just got to focus on what I can do and we’ll go from there.”

Matt St Moritz 2023

Matt Weston won the World title in St Moritz last season

Weston won five of the eight World Cup races in 2022/23 but hasn’t enjoyed the same level of success so far this season. He still sits second in the Overall World Cup standings, however, having won four medals in six races, including at both the two most recent races in Altenberg and Sigulda.

He also won bronze at the last World Cup race in Winterberg in January 2023 and has trained well on the ice this week so he heads into race day in good spirits. 

“My season so far has definitely been a bit tougher than usual but, overall, I have had some good results and I feel like I have a lot to give this week,” added Weston.

“I have a really good feeling on this track and training has gone well. I enjoy sliding here and I medalled here last season. 

This is a very flowy track so being calm and relaxed is key. That might be a bit more difficult with extra pressure but I’ve been working a lot on this over the last few weeks and I feel in a good place going into Thursday.

“The field is really deep this year with lots of different sliders winning World Cup medals so it’s going to be tough to do what I did last season but, ultimately, that’s the aim. We’ve got the extra challenge of beating the Germans on their home ice but that just adds to the excitement of going out to try and achieve something special.”

This year’s World Championships take place in Winterberg, Germany from February 22nd - March 3rd, with the schedule as follows:

Thurs 22 Feb
Women's Skeleton Heats 1&2 9am
Men's Skeleton Heats 1&2 1pm

Fri 23 Feb
Women's Skeleton Heats 3&4 11am
Men's Skeleton Heats 3&4 3pm

Sat 24 Feb
Women's Monobob Heats 1&2 8am
2-man Bobsleigh Heats 1&2 12pm
Skeleton Mixed Team Competition 4pm

Sun 25 Feb
Women's Monobob Heats 3&4 8.15am
2-man Bobsleigh Heats 3&4 12.15pm

Fri 1 Mar
Women's Bobsleigh Heats 1&2 2pm

Sat 2 Mar
4-man Bobsleigh Heats 1&2 9am
Women's Bobsleigh Heats 3&4 1.30pm

Sun 3 Mar
4-man Bobsleigh Heats 3&4 1pm

All races will be shown live on the IBSF YouTube channel and website