Path to PyeongChang: 87 days to go

Colder days, longer nights and the upcoming winter means only one thing for Team GB hopefuls: the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games are coming.

Just 87 days remain until next year’s excitement, with qualification hopes and preparations ramping up to keep the athletes very occupied.

Each Monday we will look back at what our athletes have been getting up to during the last week and who to keep an eye on over the coming seven days.

Katie Ormerod ensured last season’s superb finish was far from a one-off after securing Big Air World Cup silver in the yearly curtain-raiser.

The snowboarder already had four World Cup medals to her name, but underlined her Olympic Winter Games credentials when leading into the final run.

The runner-up spot was to eventually come her way but with a busy season ahead, this was certainly a confidence-booster and potential sign of what is to come. Ormerod will have time to drink in her success, with a two-week break until the next Big Air World Cup, in Beijing.

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Lizzy Yarnold’s love for Lake Placid was evident once again after opening her season with a spot on the skeleton podium.

A blistering second effort saw the Olympic champion stop the clock in a total time of 1:50.46 and, with her Sochi gold medal to defend, this was no bad way to start her season.

And with a World Championship bronze from the same course five years ago, Yarnold was thrilled to keep the good times coming alongside a plethora of personal bests.

“I’m really pleased with my push starts on both runs – it’s the fastest I’ve ever gone,” she said.

“Third isn’t first, where I always aim to be, but, nonetheless, it’s a good start to the season and I’m raring to go for next week.”

Laura Deas finished fifth, while the women’s bobsleigh saw Mica McNeill and Mica Moore finish eighth in America.

The bobsleigh and skeleton teams will have the chance to do it all again this weekend with the second World Cup of the season, this time in Park City.

Toby Olubi and Brad Hall, who crashed out of the two-man bobsleigh, are set to be back after both walking away unscathed.

A gutted Dave Ryding saw his bid for history end in heartbreak after a final-run crash put paid to his chance of becoming Britain’s first alpine skiing World Cup winner.

The 30-year-old led after the first slalom run and looked set to follow that display later on in Levi, Finland, having stretched his lead to half a second at the first time check on the second run.

But after losing control and sliding off the piste, the chance was gone for Ryding, who won the silver medal in Kitzbuhel in January. Ryding was keen to take the positives forward with a dozen World Cups set to come before the Olympic Winter Games. "It wasn't the best of days overall, but I have to take some positives from my performance," he said.

"It is a shame not to come away with some points, but sometimes slalom can be cruel."

Injuries, heartbreak and time on the sidelines have plagued Penny Coomes and Nick Buckland over the past two years.

But with their place in South Korea confirmed, the career-threatening knee injury Coomes suffered has become a thing of the past. That resulted in their first Grand Prix for two years, finishing seventh in the NHK Trophy with a performance that was about far more than a place on the podium.

The action continues closer to home this weekend as attentions turn to the Grand Prix Internationaux de France, with Zoe Jones and Christopher Boyadji set to compete in the pairs competition.

The year has already been nothing short of extraordinary for Elise Christie.

Becoming a triple world champion in March, that partially made up for the Sochi disappointment which saw her disqualified from all three events.

Last weekend in Shanghai she was not to bring the medals home this time, penalised in the 500m and 1000m, while Jennifer Pickering, Hannah Morrison and European champion Charlotte Gilmartin also took to the ice.

The World Cups come thick and fast however, with Seoul the next stop this coming weekend – the fourth in what has already been a busy winter on the track.

The British curlers will also return to the sheet as both the Scottish men’s and women’s rinks gear up for the European Championships in Switzerland.

That means Eve Muirhead will lead out her charges, already confirmed for PyeongChang, with Anna Sloan, Victoria Adams and Lauren Gray making up the rink.

Kyle Smith, Thomas Muirhead, Kyle Waddell and Cammy Smith will compete for the men, with action getting underway on Friday.

Sportsbeat 2017