Olympic24: Weekend to remember for British winter sports

Olympic24: Weekend to remember for British winter sports

15 February 2016 / 07:32

It’s been in a weekend to remember for Britain’s aspiring and established winter Olympians. From the bobsleigh World Cup to the Youth Olympic Games, here’s our review of the last 24 hours:

  • Fourth place in two-man bobsleigh, best World Champs results in five decades
  • History maker Rowlands makes Olympic history in Lillehammer
  • Stanley and Christie make medals at short track World Cup
  • Ormerod makes first major snowboarding podium
  • No Olympic qualification for GB ice hockey
  • Johnson-Thompson won’t let Ennis-Hill have easy path in Olympic title defence

Tasker records best two-man bobsleigh result in five decades

Bruce Tasker admits finishing ahead of some of his heroes was a surreal experience after producing Great Britain's best two-man bobsleigh result for 50 years at the World Championships in Igls, Austria.

Tasker piloted Joel Fearon to fourth place, just 0.20 seconds out of the medals, as Germany's Francesco Friedrich won his third consecutive world title alongside Thorsten Margis.

Another German pair, Johannes Lochner and Joshua Bluhm, took silver while Switzerland's Beat Hefti and Alex Baumaan came third.

You have to go back to 1966 to find the last time a British two-man crew did better at the
World Championships and the result was all the more remarkable as it was Tasker's first major global competition as pilot.

The 28-year-old still competes as a brakeman in the four-man bob and concedes it will take some time to come to terms with he and Fearon's accomplishments.

"I still can't believe it - I'm pinching myself," said Tasker. "It's amazing to know that is our best result since 1966: I don't really know what to say to that. 

"I've had my ups and downs this season and I'm just glad to get it right on the day. All I wanted was four consistent heats, and I knew if I got that I'd end up with a result I'd be happy with. 

"The result that we did end up with was far, far better than I could ever have imagined and I'm absolutely over the moon.

"There are some huge names in that list of sleds below us: Oskars Melbardis is a hero of mine as a brakeman turned pilot so to be one place ahead of him is just phenomenal."

Golden girl Rowlands makes history at Lillehammer 2016  

Madi RowlandsHistory-maker Madi Rowlands was “stoked” with ski halfpipe gold as she became the first Team GB athlete to win a Youth Olympic medal on snow.

Rowlands dominated the field throughout and put down the best two runs of the competition at Oslo’s Vinterpark, beating silver medallist Paula Cooper’s best effort of 79.00.

 “I couldn’t be happier. It’s just so overwhelming,” said Rowlands, 15 “It was nerve-wracking to wait for the others to finish but I felt like I had done enough.”

Elsewhere, Team GB's curlers booked their place in the knock-out stages of the mixed team event after double Scandinavian success. The quartet first saw off host nation Norway 9-3 before a superb victory 8-2 against Sweden.

And at the Lillehammer Olympic Sliding Centre, the luge events got underway as Team GB’s Lucas Gebauer-Barrett finished with his best ever result, coming in 10th in the men’s singles.

Read more here

Stanley and Christie in the medals at short track World Cup

Paul StanleyPaul Stanley won silver in the men’s 500m to help Great Britain to their most successful set of individual short track speed skating World Cup results in Dordrecht this weekend.

After Elise Christie won the ladies 1,000m on Saturday, the European champion added a 500m gold to her tally in the Netherlands yesterday.

And Stanley ensured that would not be where the British medals came to a halt, taking to the ice immediately after Christie and clocking 40.841seconds to claim silver behind Russia’s Dmitry Migunov.

"I feel I've been skating really well the last two days and that's given me lots of confidence coming into my favourite distance,” said Stanley.

“In the races I knew I was fast enough so I stayed calm and patient waiting for the right opportunity to make my moves. I'm so happy with my result, it makes all the years of hard work worth it."

Read more here

First podium for snowboarder Ormerod

Snowboarder Katie Ormerod couldn’t hide her delight after clinching a maiden World Cup podium place at the big air event in Quebec City, Canada.

The 18-year-old landed a backside 720 mute and backflip indy to notch 126.25 points, which secured her a silver medal behind USA’s Jamie Anderson, who scored 178.75.

“I’m so stoked to get my first big air World Cup podium here in Quebec, it was such a fun event,” said Ormerod.

Read more here

Team GB miss out on Olympic ice hockey qualification

Great Britain have missed out on the chance to qualify for the 2018 Winter Olympics.

After wins over Netherlands and Serbia they lost 6-2 to Italy in Cortina. GB head coach Pete Russell said: "We gave it our best shot and I’m proud of them.

"We can take a lot from the tournament and it has given us plenty to work on ahead of April's World Championship in Croatia. We are a young side and I think we have a bright future."

Johnson-Thompson aiming high in Rio

Katarina Johnson-Thompson is determined that Olympic heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis-Hill won’t have it all her way this summer.

“Realistically I’ll be disappointed if I don’t come away with the gold,” she told Athletics Weekly. 

“I’m not putting pressure on myself, it’s just the truth and I’m not going to lie. I’d be annoyed if I don’t get the gold.”

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