In exactly one year’s time the 2018 Winter Olympic opening ceremony in Pyeongchang, South Korea will have begun kicking off a fortnights’ worth of exhilarating action in some of the toughest and most dramatic sports in the world.
After a record equalling four medals were achieved at the Sochi 2014 games, Team GB are hoping to go one better in 12 months’ time and have their most successful Winter Olympics of all time. Chef de mission Mike Hay has said that UK Sport’s extra funding in winter sports over the last four years has boosted the countries hopes of a record breaking year.
He said “We’ve got to go in with high hopes and there are some early indicators that our athletes are going to be competing for podium places. It’s very difficult to challenge the alpine nations but we’re making progress into that second tier, and getting credibility.”
Great Britain only has 26 medals to their name in the entire history of the Winter Olympics, which has been running since 1924. So, if Team GB are to build upon their medal success what sports are we likely to do well in?
Lizzy Yarnold MBE is perhaps the best-known Winter Olympian from the UK and she’ll be hoping to become the first Briton ever to successfully defend her Skeleton gold medal after winning in Russia. She took a year out from the sport in 2016 but is back and feeling better than ever. She is not the only British representation in this event with Laura Deas in good form winning her first World Cup race in the last year. Since Skeleton was brought back to the Winter Olympics in 2002, Britain has managed to win a medal every year, and so hopes are high that we can keep this good run going.
Ski and Snowboard
After going 90 years without a medal on the snow before Jenny Jones’ snowboard bronze in 2014, we now have an abundance of athletes vying for a podium spot. The British Ski and Snowboard organisation has an ambitious plan in place to be a top-five nation in the sport by 2030 and 2018 could be the springboard to start this rise to the top. Snowboarder Katie Ormerod won the Moscow big air tournament and claimed two other podiums in recent years making her a strong favourite to medal. It’s a family affair with Katie’s cousin Jamie Nicholls wining a World Cup medal, and he is one to watch in the slopestyle and big air.
Short track and speed skating
A heart-breaking disqualification in Sochi for colliding with an opponent meant Elise Chrisite left Russia medal less in 2014, and she is determined to make up for this next year. She is currently top of the 500m rankings and has won 1000m and 1500m World Cup medals, so has every chance of writing the wrongs of four years ago.
David Murdoch‘s silver medal in the event in Russia made the country fall in love with the game of curling, and there is every chance of building on Great Britain’s two medals next year. With a new mixed doubles event being incorporated, there is an extra chance of success.
Excitement is already building for the 2018 Winter Olympics and we could be in for the greatest games in Team GB’s history. Whatever the case, there is only 365 days to go until the action kicks off!
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