Don’t write off men says British Skeleton boss Laughton
November 6, 2013 18:47 pm
Girl power has long dominated British skeleton but Sochi could see parity in the battle of the sexes, according to team boss Nigel Laughton.
British women have made the podium at the last three Olympics – Alex Coomber's bronze in Salt Lake, Shelley Rudman's silver in Turin and a famous gold for Amy Williams in Vancouver.
Rudman is also the defending women's world champion, while Lizzy Yarnold was a bronze medallist in 2012.
British sliders are spending this week in Sochi undertaking final training runs on what will be their last visit to the venue before next year's Olympics.
Ed Smith edged out Dominic Parsons at the recent British trials in Altenberg while three-time Olympian Kristan Bromley also made the World Cup team for the opening event in Calgary this month.
And performance director Laughton likes the look of a men's squad that is likely to fly under the radar.
"Until you get out onto the World Cup I've no idea who will be the stronger of the three men, they are remarkably close going into this season," he said.
"We talk a lot about the girls programme being very strong because of previous success at the Olympics but don't write off the men just yet – they are equally strong and still building."
Laughton is under no illusions about the importance of the next few days in Russia and understands recent Olympic success means his team are under pressure to deliver next year.
"Everyone talks about the weight of expectation but I don't think the athletes feel it," he added. "What happened in Vancouver, it means nothing to them.
"No one is worrying about what other people are doing. Our programme is successful and it produces world class and number one athletes and that generates great confidence, they can see what gold-medal performances are like up close and personal.
"I know we'll be competitive. I can't make a guarantee but we've got the athletes and historically those who medal in the year before the Olympics are always up and around the podium."
© Sportsbeat 2013