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Getting to know Lizzy Yarnold

 

Skeleton

Getting to know Lizzy Yarnold

09 February 2018 / 15:29

Lizzy Yarnold

Event: Skeleton

Age: 29

Hometown: Sevenoaks, Kent

Team GB debut: Sochi 2014

Favourite healthy food: Raspberries

Interesting fact: In 407 days over 2014 and 2015, Yarnold won the overall World Cup, Olympic Games, European and World Championships – the skeleton Grand Slam.

History is in the offing for Sevenoaks slider Lizzy Yarnold as she goes to PyeongChang 2018 with eyes on a second Olympic gold medal.

Should she come back home to Kent with another title it would make her the first Brit to win two Olympic Winter Games gold medals, and also the first woman to defend an Olympic skeleton title.

A fact not lost on the 29-year-old who has endured an up and down time since sliding to gold in Sochi, four years ago.

“The dream is to go to the Winter Olympics and wear the British flag on my chest and represent my country at a sport that I love and do my absolute best,” she said.

“To be the first British Winter Olympian to win two Gold medals would be absolutely unexplainable.”

Yarnold went to the Sochi 2014 Games as the newly-crowned World Cup champion but with no other international titles to her name.

But from early 2014, in the space of just 407 days, she won the World Cup, Olympic gold, European title and World Championships to make her just the second woman to complete the skeleton Grand Slam.

After finishing second in the 2014-15 World Cup season Yarnold decided to take a year away from the sport, in the hope of returning refreshed for a shot at another Olympic title.

In 2016 she won a medal at just her second World Cup race back on the circuit but suffered with dizziness problems in several races – but ended it on a high with bronze in the 2017 World Championships.

Another early podium got this season off to a fine start and despite a dip in form she came good in the final two races of the season – setting the fastest time of the second run in Koenigssee to finish the last World Cup of the campaign in fourth.

With her dizziness problems behind her following a diagnosis of inner-ear damage and vestibular problems that, now known, can be managed – Yarnold is full steam ahead to PyeongChang.

But who is the sliding sensation with a chance to make history? What does she feel at the top of the run? And what does an Olympic champion eat for breakfast?

“Before I start the skeleton run I am trying to think of being really fast and powerful on the push start and once I have loaded onto the sled I am totally relaxed like a pancake into the sled, just moulded to it and then thinking of each corner, trying to remember the steers as I go down and stay relaxed and calm,” she revealed.

“I think food is my lucky charm because I am always hungry, so I always have to have really good snacks with me.

“I often remind myself to have salads and vegetables and lots of green things, even in the winter, because it’s easy to go for carbs because you want comfort.

“So I have to make myself have a rainbow plate.  Lots of different colours with lots of nutrients.

“My training diet isn’t too dissimilar to my normal diet.  My nutritionist loves little tricks like Tupperware boxes of yoghurt, lots of milk and jerky as well, so lots of dried meats.

“My breakfast summer or winter is exactly the same.  Two medium boiled eggs with two bits of brown toast.”

So we know what Lizzy eats and how it fuels her to be on the top of her game when she needs it most – but how has she maintained her body to give herself a shot at a second Olympic title?

“I spend a lot of time in the gym lifting heavy weights trying to get as strong as I can, especially in my legs, for the push start of the skeleton run and I also spend time on the sprints track transferring all my power into speed,” she added.

“As well as that, yoga and flexibility and core training is really important.

“I love a pigeon stretch, which is for the glutes, hamstring stretches and anything really for your upper back, anything that makes you feel nice when you’re back moves properly.”

Yarnold begins her search for a second gold medal on Friday, February 16 at 11:20 UK time.