Sochi 2014: Team GB's Olympics in review
February 28, 2014 22:21 pm
Sochi is over and the countdown quickly resets to Pyeongchang, where hopes are high that Team GB can continue their winning ways in four years time.
Lizzy Yarnold's skeleton gold, silver for the men's curlers and bronze for the women's curlers and Jenny Jones in snowboard slopestyle equalled the record of four medals Great Britain won at the Winter Olympics in Chamonix 1924.
But the two Games are beyond real comparison.
Only 376 athletes attended those inaugural Winter Games 90 years ago, just 16 were women, and 20 nations lined up. In Sochi 2,871 arrived from 88 nations and 26 nations won medals, a new record.
"It's really exciting for Pyeongchang in 2018 because we've got so much talent across this time," said Team GB chef de mission Mike Hay.
"We've had a number of people in top ten places and making finals. Some will leave here disappointed and that just shows you the shift in expectation since Vancouver when Amy Williams brought home our only medal."
Chemmy Alcott made her fourth Olympic appearance despite a career-threatening double leg fracture in 2010 and a further break in 2013. The 31-year-old finished 19th in downhill and 23rd in super-G. Dave Ryding ranked 17th in the men's slalom.
They said it
"After what I’ve been through, it's amazing justice. I’m swelling with pride. When I made the commitment to come here it was about personal goals.
"I never put any statistics on it, if I had then top 20 would have been massively over superseding what I expected. I've done this against all odds and I'm very proud."
Chemmy Alcott called time on her Olympic career after a fourth appearance in Team GB colours in Sochi
Lee Jackson made his second Olympic appearance in Sochi, finishing 67th in the 10km sprint and 42nd in the men's individual. He is undecided on his future but claims Sochi marked an improvement from his debut Games in Vancouver.
Lightfoot became the first British women's biathlete to compete at the Games since Emma Fowler in 2006, finishing 71st in the 15km individual and 75th in the 7.5km sprint.
They said it
"I'm closer to the podium places than I was four years ago, so that's really encouraging. I'm in better shape, I was better mentally prepared and my percentages behind the top guys are much better."
Team GB's Lee Jackson after concluding his Olympic campaign at the Laura Biathlon and Cross Country Centre
John Jackson and his crew of Joel Fearon, Stuart Benson and Bruce Tasker claimed Team GB's best bobsleigh result at the Winter Olympics in 16 years with their fifth place finish in the four man competition.
Jackson, who ruptured his Achilles just seven months ago, finished just 0.11 seconds off a medal and believes the future is bright for the sport - with Tasker slated to assume driving duties in time for the next Games in 2018.
Elsewhere, GBR2 pilot Lamin Deen, alongside Andrew Matthews, John Baines and Ben Simons finished 19th while Deen and Baines ranked 23rd in the two-man event.
Britain's women's crew of Paula Walker and Rebekah Wilson, former world junior champions, finished 12th.
They said it
"I'm extremely proud, it has four been extremely hard years. It just shows that what we are doing here is working and that's testament to all the coaches who work with me. It's bittersweet, you know what I wanted, that medal meant so much to our guys and we've come up just that little bit short."
Team GB bobsleigh leader Gary Anderson reflects on GBR1's fifth place in the four man event on the final day of competition in Sochi
Andrew Musgrave, who arrived at the Games after his surprise win in the Norwegian Championships, became the first British skier to reach the quarter-finals of the men's sprint event but wanted more than his 27th overall finish. He was 44th in the 15km classic and 53rd in the 50km mass start. However, he did not complete the team sprint after Andrew Young suffered flare up of a pre-existing heart condition.
Sister Rosamund Musgrave produced the best-ever performance by a British women's cross country skier with a 42nd in the sprint event.
Other results: Andrew Young (42nd, sprint; 37th, 15km classic), Callum Smith (62nd, skiathlon; 62nd, sprint; 67th, 15km classic), Rosamund Musgrave (66th, 10km classic)
They said it
"It is the Olympics and it comes around once every four years. In the Tour de France guys race with broken collarbones. If I have only got a sore throat and a cold I just thought ‘I may as well just go’.”
Team GB's Andrew Musgrave proves he has a winning attitude after his final race in Sochi.
After missing medals at the last two Olympics, Great Britain's rinks struck silver and bronze in Sochi - replicating their world ranking coming into the Games.
Eve Muirhead, alongside Anna Sloan, Claire Hamilton, Vicki Adams and alternate Lauren Gray, rebounded from a disappointing semi-final defeat to eventual gold medallists Canada, claiming bronze with the final stone of their match with Switzerland.
David Murdoch, competing at his third Olympics, finally climbed the podium alongside Greg Drummond, Scott Andrews, Michael Goodfellow and alternate Tom Brewster. He admitted his rink didn't play well in their final match with Canada but labelled their silver medal - following close fought play-off wins over Norway and world champions Sweden - as 'scarily cool'.
They said it
“An Olympic medal is someone’s dream and for us to get that feels fantastic but I want to make my way up that podium. The next three years I’m going to train hard because I really want to get to the top of that podium in South Korea."
Team GB women's curling skip Eve Muirhead is looking ahead to the future with confidence
James Woods and Katie Summerhayes left Sochi with mixed feelings after placing fifth and sixth in the new ski slopestyle discipline - a measure of how far Team GB have come in snow sports considering their results rank among the best ever achieved on the white stuff in 90 years of Olympic history.
Woods, last season's World Cup winner, injured his hip in training and admitted he would have pulled out of any other event, while Summerhayes was in tears, claiming she should have done better.
And there was also disappointment for World Cup winner Rowan Cheshire, who was concussed during training for the ski halfpipe and didn't compete.
Other results: Murray Buchan (17th, ski halfpipe), James Machon (23rd, ski halfpipe), Emma Lonsdale (18th, ski halfpipe)
They said it
"Any other occasion I wouldn't be near my skis so I cannot be unhappy with this - it's the world stage. Fifth in the Olympics, with four of my best mates in front of me, it is great."
Team GB skier James Woods after finishing fifth in the ski slopestyle final
It's 20 years since Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean won Great Britain's last Olympic figure skating medal but Evgeny Platov, coach to ice dance couple Penny Coomes and Nick Buckland, believes that wait could soon be over.
Coomes and Buckland were Team GB's best figure skating performers in Sochi, finishing tenth in their event just a few weeks after winning bronze at the European Championships.
Several top couples are expected to retire in the months ahead and Coomes and Buckland believe 2018, which would be their third Olympic appearance, could be their time in a sport where it takes time to mature and establish your credibility.
Pairs couple David King and Stacey Kemp finished 19th in their event while Jenna McCorkell ranked 25th in the women's competition. All skaters, including men's entry Matthew Parr, combined to finish tenth in the new-look team figure skating event.
They said it
"The whole world is here so top ten would be great for us. Their medal at the Europeans was unexpected because this is a long-term project, our goal is the next Olympics in 2018. I love working with these guys, they are my favourite students. They are like sponges. They look me in the eyes and do what I tell them. If they keep doing that, it's a really exciting future."
Double Olympic champion Evgeny Platov, coach to Team GB ice dancers Penny Coomes and Nick Buckland
Lizzy Yarnold maintained Team GB's record of skeleton podium performances with a gold medal, retaining the title won by her landlady Amy Williams four years ago in Vancouver.
Yarnold dominated her rivals over four runs at the Sanki Sliding Centre to win by a massive 0.97 second margin. Team-mate Shelley Rudman finished 16th in her third Olympics while Kristan Bromley was eighth in his fourth Games and Dominic Parsons tenth on his Olympic debut.
"It is an incredible feeling. Four years after Amy (Williams) and now this and another name on the gold. It is a great achievement for British Skeleton and the individual athlete," said British Skeleton coach Andi Schmid.
"In my head I am thinking what did we achieve with four different names on the podium in four Olympics? The programme is producing great results and to have another incredible athlete again on the podium is phenomenal."
They said it
"Signing autographs in the middle of London is certainly new to me but it’s wonderful. When I’ve autographed a few of the posters for the other GB athletes, it was quite a brave moment the first time I wrote Lizzy Yarnold, Olympic champion.”
Lizzy Yarnold gets used to her new fame after returning from Sochi with her Olympic gold medal
SHORT TRACK SPEED SKATING
Short track speed skating prides itself on thrills and spills but unfortunately there were a few too many spills for Team GB in Sochi.
Great Britain failed to make any finals in Vancouver but reached two in Sochi, a sign of progress in a sport where anything goes.
Jack Whelbourne fell early in the 1500m final while Elise Christie crossed the line second in the 500m final but was relegated for a racing infringement. In her 1500m heat she came first but was ruled to have crossed inside the finish line and she was disqualified in the semi-finals of her signature distance, the 1000m.
“Even though we haven’t come back from Sochi with a medal, I couldn’t have asked for more from our athletes in terms how they approached the Olympics, and attacked each and every race with full commitment," said team leader Stuart Horsepool, who will hoping for more luck when his team travel to this month's World Championships in Montreal.
Other results: Jack Whelbourne (27th, 500m; 21st 1000m) Jon Eley (seventh, 500m; 25th, 1000m), Richard Shoebridge (27th,1000m), Charlotte Gilmartin (16th, 500m; 28th 1500m)
They said it
“Elise showed exceptional form in Sochi and demonstrated to the world why she is one of the top competitors in short track. Watching her sit at the back of the pack and see her pick off opponents with such ease was a great moment for everyone at GB Short Track. We’ve all work very hard with her and the rest of the team to develop these skills, so to see them being used to such effect at an Olympics was a real reward. It just shows that the programme we have in place is capable of producing world class competitors, which is exciting for the future of the sport.”
GB Short Track performance director Stuart Horsepool looks back on some near misses in Sochi
Jenny Jones won Team GB's first ever medal on snow with her bronze in the snowboard slopestyle event. The double X Games champion was one of the oldest in the field but there were few more popular medallists than the 33-year old.
In the men's slopestyle, Jamie Nicholls finished sixth while team-mate Billy Morgan ranked tenth, a slight frustration being a repeat of his qualifying score in the final would have secured him bronze.
Elsewhere, three-time Olympian Zoe Gillings narrowly missed out on the snowboard cross final, finishing ninth.
Other results: Dom Harington (38th, snowboard halfpipe), Ben Kilner (34th, snowboard halfpipe)
They said it
"I never thought it'd be in this position when I was a chalet maid. I was cooking breakfasts and cleaning toilets and just snowboarding every day and having fun. At the beginning it was just about snowboarding and enjoying your sport. It's still sinking in the history part. Hopefully I'll be in a few pub quizzes now."
Jenny Jones reflects on her new found fame after winning snowboard bronze, Team GB's first ever Olympic medal on snow
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