World number one George Johnston has spoken of his pride in representing Team GB as he looks to win gold at the Winter Youth Olympic Games in Lillerhammer, Norway.
The rising bobsleigh star from Taunton is one of 16 athletes who will be representing Team GB at the Games in Lillehammer, which starts tomorrow and runs until February 21.
This year will be the fourth Youth Olympics and the second Winter Games, where Team GB will have athletes competing in seven of the 15 disciplines.
Johnston tops the monobob world rankings and has dreams of following in the footsteps of his father Lee – who competed in three Winter Olympics between 1998 and 2006 and is now part of British Bobsleigh’s management team.
“Wearing the Team GB kit is a great experience and it is one that I will not forget for the rest of my life,” said 17-year-old Johnston, who was selected as Team GB flag bearer for the Opening Ceremony.
“I have just been counting down the days. It means the world to me to represent Team GB and I am so happy that I have the opportunity to do it.
“I want to enjoy the Games and hopefully come away with a medal. Being ranked number one in the world means I am confident I can win a medal.
“I am also looking forward to watching a lot of the other sports and events.”
Johnston is one of four bobsleigh athletes in the Team GB squad, with Kelsea Purchall, Annabel Chaffey and Aimee Davey first, second and third respectively in the women’s monobob world rankings.
There are two alpine skiers in Chichester’s Yasmin Cooper and Edinburgh’s Iain Innes, and three freestyle skiers: Isobel Brown from Ashbourne, Cal Sandieson of Glasgow and Maidstone’s Madison Rowlands.
Meanwhile, the curling quartet consists of Perth duo Callum Kinnear and Mili Smith, Ross Whyte from Dumfries and Kelso’s Amy Bryce.
Lucas Gebauer-Barrett will go in the luge and Verity Lewis will take part in the ice hockey skills challenge.
“Opening up the suitcase for the first time and seeing the Team GB kit, I was just like ‘wow, it is nearly there’: it is overwhelming,” Lewis said.
“To wear the Olympic rings is great. I wasn’t sure how I would feel before I saw the kit but it is really nice.
“In Lillehammer I will try my hardest to win but I also want to gain the experiences of being there, dealing with the atmosphere and having a good time.”
The final member of the squad is Ashleigh Pittaway, who is based in Munich and leads the skeleton world rankings having won all four of her qualification races.
The 16-year-old said: “It feels really good to be representing Team GB at the Winter Youth Olympics; I am really proud.
“Because I was very good in the qualifying races, I am going for gold but I would be happy with any medal.
“I am also excited to meet all the different people from other countries, cultures and sports.”