Olympic Athletes >> Lizzy Yarnold

Skeleton

Lizzy Yarnold

Age

25

Date of Birth

Oct. 31, 1988

Highlights

Although she is a relative newcomer to the sport, Yarnold swiftly became one of the top sliders in the world despite coming from a nation with no skeleton track. She began competing internationally in November 2010, placing 10th in a Europa Cup. In her first World Cup appearance on Jan 13, 2012, Yarnold was 14th in Konigssee, Germany, then rocketed to the gold medal a week later in St. Moritz, Switzerland. Yarnold followed that performance with the gold at the 2012 Junior World Championship in Igls, Austria, and a World Cup bronze in Calgary, Alberta. She closed the season with a bronze medal at the World Championships in Lake Placid, N.Y. During the 2012-13 World Cup campaign, Yarnold won the silver medal in Park City, Utah, and the bronze at the 2010 Olympic venue at Whistler, British Columbia, after blacking out on one of her training runs. She was a disappointing eighth in the Olympic test event in Sochi, which was won by Noelle Pikus-Pace of the U.S. Yarnold finished the season by placing fourth at the World Championships in St. Moritz, Switzerland, as teammate Shelley Rudman captured the gold.

Runup

Yarnold eclipsed Rudman as the top-ranked slider in Great Britain and emerged from summer training "in the best physical shape" of her life. During the International Training Week at the Sochi venue, Yarnold said she had gotten "a much firmer grip on the corners and the various lines that I can take," and had posted her fastest times of 127 kilometers per hour (about 79 mph). Yarnold started the 2013-14 Olympic campaign with two golds, a silver and a bronze in the first four World Cup races to lead the standings at the halfway point of the season. "Can't be bad, four podium finishes," she said. Yarnold initially thought shed won the silver in the season opener in Calgary behind Pikus-Pace. However, the British team protested the way Pikus-Pace had applied tape to her sled handle, and the American was disqualified. Yarnold then won the silver in Park City, behind a determined Pikus-Pace. On the first day of two World Cups in Lake Placid, Yarnold was third. On the second day, she was eighth off the start, but slid ahead of Pikus-Pace with a run of 56.27 seconds to claim the gold.

Prediction

Though she is a first-time Olympian competing against veterans, Yarnold should win a medal, possibly the gold.

Things To Know

  • Yarnold jokingly calls her sled her "tea tray" and has named it "Mervyn" after a man she met when she was working at an insurance syndicate of Lloyds of London.
  • A former heptathlete, Yarnold learned about skeleton through the Girls4Gold talent search run by UKSport.
  • At the British Olympic Association ball, she bid in a silent auction and won a skiing lesson with Katie Summerhayes, one of Great Britains top slopestyle skiers.

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