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Sochi Hopefuls

December 18, 2012 16:52 pm

The push to be a part of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics is hotting up and here is a look at some medal hopes well placed to attempt to emulate their summer counterparts and make it a Games to remember for Great Britain.

Shelley Rudman, skeleton - Rudman came from nowhere to claim Olympic skeleton silver in Turin in 2006. She was the women's overall world champion in 2011, and won a World Cup race in La Plagne, France earlier this month.

Rudman says: "I'm totally consumed by Sochi. I had a difficult time in Vancouver and I was gutted because I missed the chance to win a second Olympic medal. It's really hard when you know you could have done a lot better, but that's what keeps me going."

Elise Christie, short-track - Having gained valuable experience at the Vancouver Games in 2010, the Livingston speed skater is ready to take on the world. A stunning start to the new season saw her claim World Cup victory in Japan - and with it the world number one ranking.

Christie says: "I have made a great start to the season but being world number one means nothing if I don't stay there until Sochi and win an Olympic medal. I can still improve and I have got to make sure I give myself every possible chance of achieving my dream."

Four-man bobsleigh - Since a stunning bronze medal in Nagano in 1998, Britain's four-man bobsleigh team have struggled to make a major impact. But the team, led by veteran John Jackson, have landed a series of top-10 finishes at the start of the current campaign.

Gary Anderson, GB Bobsleigh performance director, says: "Our target for the four-man was to get into the world's top six and they have done that faster than we might have expected. Once you are in the top six in bobsleigh, anything can happen."

Jenny Jones, snowboard slopestyle - The 31-year-old from Bristol has won two prestigious X Games titles and will be one of the favourites to win in the new discipline of snowboard slopestyle, which will be part of the Sochi Games for the first time.

Jones says: "The Olympics is a new challenge for me and as long as I stay injury-free I think I have got a good shot. I didn't compete a lot last winter so it is about doing more events and getting back to where I was before ahead of going to Sochi."

James Woods, ski slopestyle - Another beneficiary of an expanded Olympic freestyle programme, Sheffield's Woods immediately made his mark by winning the first World Cup event of the current season in Ushuaia, Argentina.

Woods says: "Going to an Olympics was something I only ever dreamed of and now with it being so close it gives me all the motivation I need. Winning the first World Cup of the season was a massive boost and Sochi can't come soon enough."

Kristan Bromley, skeleton - Former world champion Bromley will head into his fourth Winter Games convinced he is better placed than ever to finally claim an elusive Olympic medal. A good start to the new campaign suggests his belief is not misplaced.

Bromley said: "Everything I do between now and Sochi will be geared towards winning an Olympic medal. I have achieved so much in the sport but an Olympic medal is the one thing that still eludes me. I have every confidence that I can make it happen."

Eve Muirhead, curling: Fresh back from the European Championships with a silver medal, Team Muirhead has been in the last three European Curling championships finals securing a grand total of two silver medals (2010 and 2012) and one gold medal (2011). The women’s curling team also has a silver medal from the 2010 World Curling Championships, which took place in March 2010, just after the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.

The men’s team is sweeping away the opposition with Scotland, the designated team to collect points for Team GB, in second place in the World rankings behind Canada and ahead of both Norway and Sweden.

Says Muirhead: "When you get to any final, you don't want to come away with anything other than the gold medal so we were a bit disappointed not to win. But the game was really close and could have gone either way so we will take the positives from our performances throughout the week at the Europeans. We are still a young team with lots to work on and we'll have plenty opportunities to do so in the next couple of months, with the Continental Cup in January, then the Scottish Championships in February. Being the top-ranked team there means there will be a big target on our backs, but we desperately want to go to the Worlds in Riga in March so we'll be hoping to live up to our ranking."

Ice hockey - Great Britain's men's team have the opportunity to qualify for the first time since 1948. Britain, who won gold in Garmisch in 1936, will head to Riga, Latvia for final qualifying in February 2013 where they will battle with the hosts, France and Kazakhstan for one spot on offer in Sochi.

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