The history of British Skeleton

British Skeleton has come a long way since it was formed by a group of athletes in 1989. Originally called the British Bob Skeleton Association, its aim was to manage and increase the popularity of the sport throughout Great Britain - something it continues to do through the BBSA.

Back in 2000, the association decided it needed to find a home that could match its ambition. It moved from the south coast to Bath, where the athletes could take advantage of the University’s excellent sports facilities, including the only push start track in the country.

Olympic success

The hard work started to pay off when Alex Coomber won an Olympic bronze medal for Great Britain at Salt Lake City in 2002 (the first Olympic Games since skeleton was reintroduced to the programme that year). It was British Skeleton’s first Olympics medal, but it wasn’t to be the last.

UK Sport spotted the team’s potential and they increased their funding between 2002 and 2006 so that the association could make much-needed improvements to the coaching, support infrastructure and equipment.

More Olympic success followed shortly after, with Shelley Rudman winning a silver medal at Turin in 2006. Then, after the association received its first four-year funding award from UK Sport, Amy Williams took home gold at Vancouver in 2010.

In 2011, the association moved to new offices within the University Of Bath’s Sports Training Village. More Olympic success followed in 2014, when Lizzy Yarnold claimed gold in Sochi. 

The most recent Olympic campaign saw even greater success for British Skeleton as the team brought an unprecedented hat-trick of medals home from PyeongChang. Yarnold became the nation's most-decorated Winter Olympian when she defended her Olympic title, while compatriots Laura Deas and Dom Parsons won a bronze medal apiece in a stunning Games in South Korea.

Britain had previously won a brace of bronze medals in skeleton’s early years as an Olympic sport before a long absence, with David Carnegie finishing third in St Moritz in 1928 and John Crammond following suit at the same venue 20 years later.

Global glory

British sliders have also enjoyed plenty of significant success on the world stage away from the Olympic Winter Games.

In 2008, Kristan Bromley became the first man in history to win the World Championship, European Championship and World Cup in the same season. He also claimed World Cup and European gold in 2004, before winning the European title again in 2005.

Rudman became the first British woman to win World Championship gold in 2013, having been World Cup Champion the previous year and European Champion in 2009 and in 2011, and Coomber won bronze at the World Championships the year before her Olympic medal in 2001.

Williams took World Championship silver in 2009, as did Adam Pengilly, while Yarnold won gold in 2015 and bronze in 2012 and 2017.

The 2015 triumph saw Yarnold complete a remarkable full house of honours as she won all four of the sport's major titles in the space of just over 400 days having previously tasted Olympic, European and overall World Cup glory.