Deas opens up on post-Olympic blues

Deas opens up on post-Olympic blues

25 February 2020 / 15:41

Taking home an Olympic medal should be a moment to savour for any athlete but Laura Deas struggled to adjust life after the Games.

In PyeongChang, the 31-year-old claimed bronze in the women’s skeleton and was the second British woman on the podium as Lizzy Yarnold clinched gold.

It was a whirlwind couple of months in 2018 for Deas who got married not long after the Games, but reality soon hit home.

Heading into the competition the Welsh slider was an underdog and thrived under her own expectations but after being thrust into the limelight, it’s taken time to adapt to the newfound pressure.

“Olympic blues is a real thing,” Deas said.  “I didn’t immediately suffer because winning the medal gave me such a high, then I had my wedding a couple of months afterwards.

“So, I felt it a lot this year. I think when you’ve come off the back of success, it forces you to think about yourself in a different way. Before PyeongChang, I had that underdog status and put the most pressure on myself. 

“So now I feel an expectation to be at a certain level because I'm an Olympic medallist. It's a different dynamic to get used to and it takes time to get around that mentally.

“I’m very aware of the fact I have a higher public profile since 2018 and I think people expect me to be winning medals week in week out because I did so at the Olympics.

“When I have a day where I've underperformed, I do feel the pressure. I’m quite hard on myself because of that.

“We’ve got the right team and I'm in good shape physically, so I have confidence and am trying to not put negative pressure on myself. 

“But I’m definitely aware of people’s views and opinions. Also, I want to be a role model to the other athletes as well. I’m a senior member now and have been around for 10 years and know the sport inside out. 

“I have always wanted to set a good example so when it comes to race day, I can show them how it's done.”

A fifth World Championships beckons for Deas, who is now the most senior member of the GB squad – a role she has grown accustomed to since the retirements of Yarnold and Dom Parsons.

Germany hosts this week’s World Championships on February 28-29 and Altenberg is a place of previous success for the Welshwoman, who won a World Cup race there in 2015.

Despite finishing 13th overall in this season’s World Cup, Deas always wants to get on the podium but acknowledges it will be a tough task.  

“The competitor in me wants to win a medal, that doesn’t change,” Deas added. “I know that is possible for me to do.

“I won a World Cup race there before and can perform well on the track. I’ve been there lots of times and know it inside out.

“The logical side of me knows it's been a tough season and the results haven’t been what I wanted, so to get my best result of my season and finishing the season on a high.”

Sportsbeat 2020