Path to PyeongChang: 11 days to go
Winter Sports

Path to PyeongChang: 11 days to go

29 January 2018 / 17:48

Less than two weeks to go, and winter competitions are winding down as athletes fly out to South Korea for the biggest event in the calendar.

The last-minute preparations and training are taking place with athletes making sure they hit their peak on the peaks at PyeongChang 2018.

More and more squads have been revealed, with Team GB taking more competitors to an Olympic Winter Games than ever before.

Here is a rundown of the last seven days as our athletes look ahead to the next two weeks in PyeongChang.

Izzy hits dizzy heights in X Games

The 19-year-old is set to be Team GB’s youngest competitor at the Games and she is gathering more and more momentum ahead of her Olympic Winter Games bow.

Atkin stormed to X Games silver on the iconic Aspen slopes in the slopestyle, finishing second behind American Maggie Voisin.

It is the latest feather in the cap for Atkin, who became the first British woman in history to win a World Cup ski slopestyle gold last March when she triumphed in Silvaplana.

And more medals might be on the horizon for the youngster who is developing a fearsome reputation on the world slopestyle stage.

Woods on form ahead of PyeongChang

James Woods could not add slopestyle silverware to his cabinet like Atkin, but the fellow Brit looked in excellent touch in Aspen.

He scored a terrific 91.33 in the final after qualifying second, but Swiss Andri Ragettli managed 92.00 on his final effort to overhaul the Brit and clinch the bronze.

Woods, 26, finished fifth in the men’s slopestyle in Sochi and will be confident a medal this time around will be well within his grasp.

And he did leave Colorado with a podium finish, claiming bronze in the non-Olympic big air event.

Learning (and borrowing) from the best

Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean are undoubtedly best known for their Bolero routine, which won a spectacular gold for Britain atSarajevo 1984.

However fans will also recall another striking sequence which won them bronze in Lillehammer, ten years later.

And it is this one which is proving to be the basis for Nick Buckland and Penny Coomes as they prepare for their third Games.

Dean is working with the British pair, who will be gunning for a maiden Olympic Winter medal, and is allowing them to put their own creative spin on the 1994 routine.

"It's a really iconic routine in the skating world and we've modernised it and I'm so excited to perform it,” said Buckland.
"It's just a huge privilege to work with him, hours seem like minutes when we are working together, it's so fun bouncing ideas off him.”

Not Bolero, then?

"You don't touch Bolero, it's just too perfect, but this routine is probably their second most famous routine in the skating world,” added Buckland.

Lightfoot flying solo

Amanda Lightfoot is Britain’s sole biathlon representative heading to PyeongChang and will compete in her second Olympic Winter Games.

The 30-year-old’s selection was confirmed this week – her best result to date is 32nd in the 15km individual event at the 2017 World Championships in Austria.

Lightfoot said: “I'm over the moon to be selected for Team GB for the 2018 Winter Olympics. The roller coaster of a journey these last four years have been quite an experience and the thousands of hours training makes these Olympics extra special.

“I'm looking to get the best result ever for a British female biathlete out in PyeongChang." 

Ten-bob squad announced!

Ten athletes will represent Team GB in the bobsleigh as they aim to win their first medal since 1998, after the squad was revealed this week.

Brad Hall will pilot sleds in two-man and four-man competition, with Lamin Deen also in the driver’s seat in a four-man bob.

Joel Fearon, Nick Gleeson, Andrew Mathews, Greg Cackett, Toby Olubi and Ben Simons are the squad’s brakemen.

Mica McNeill will pilot in the women’s event, with Mica Moore as brakewoman.

Is Ryding gearing up for another assault on the medals?

At the iconic night slalom in Schladming on Tuesday, Dave Ryding held his own with another solid display on the slopes.


Ryding’s previous effort of ninth in Kitzbuehel only told half the story – the Rocket actually posted the fastest individual run of the day in his second effort on that occasion, after a first-round slip.

He was more consistent this time around, placing joint 12th after the opening run and finishing in the same position come the end of the day’s action.

Ryding is certainly settling back into consistent form following a slight dip in performances in recent weeks, but he knows only too well the threat the likes of Marcel Hirscher and Henrik Kristoffersen pose in his quest for a medal in South Korea.

The biggest squad ever

With the squads officially revealed this week, Team GB will be taking a party of 59 athletes to PyeongChang – the highest in history for a British Winter Olympic outfit.


It is three more than Team GB chiefs selected for Sochi four years ago, with the athletes competing across 15 disciplines.

Freestyle skiing will have the most representatives with 11, with Amanda Lightfoot flying the flag on her own in the biathlon.

Thirty-one will make their debuts at the Games, while Britain’s most experienced competitor is snowboard-cross athlete Zoe Gillings-Brier, set to make her fourth appearance on the biggest stage of all.

The week ahead

We’re not done just yet in terms of competition ahead of the big one.

Ryding has the Stockholm City Event slalom on Tuesday night as he looks to gather even more momentum.

Make sure to follow for all the latest as British athletes count down the final few days to PyeongChang2018!

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