PyeongChang 2018: Ones To Watch
Curling

PyeongChang 2018: Ones To Watch

09 February 2017 / 07:25

They say time flies when you’re having fun, and with three years already having passed since Sochi 2014 and exactly 12 months to go until the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games gets underway – we think we can blame our winter sport athletes for making the time go so quickly.

Our winter stars have certainly been enjoying themselves and burning up the slopes and ice en route to South Korea, with World Cup wins, world records and history-making performances aplenty.

With just 365 days to go, we’re giving you a look at our ones to watch come competition day in PyeongChang.

And you can see our guide to everything PyeongChang 2018 here.

Lizzy Yarnold: Skeleton

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She’s won it all. Olympic Champion, World Champion, European Champion and World Cup Champion.

After taking Olympic gold at Sochi 2014, Lizzy Yarnold capped a remarkable 12 months by finishing both the 2013-14 and 2014-15 season as the World Cup champion, as well as taking the World and European titles in early 2015.

The former heptathlete took a sabbatical from the sport the following season but returned in 2016, reinvigorated and ready to launch her assault on another Olympic title, in South Korea.

In her comeback season she has already been on the podium at the Lake Placid World Cup, and, along with compatriot Laura Deas, sits in the top ten of the series standings.

Check out our '10 of the Best' moments from Winter Olympic history here!

Lamin Deen: Bobsleigh

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Grenadier Guard Lamin Deen followed the well-trodden path from sprinter to bobsleigh athlete and has enjoyed considerable success in his new sport.

After 19th and 23rd place finishes in the four-man and two-man competitions, respectively, at Sochi 2014 he has kept improving in the three years since.

At the 2015 World Championships he, and his team of Ben Simons, Bruce Tasker and Andrew Matthews, finished fifth overall.

Deen has added more sprinting prowess to his team and, with Olympic 4x100m relay champion Mark Lewis-Francis, as well as the fastest man in Britain over 100m in 2016 Joel Fearon, in the quartet then hopes are high for PyeongChang 2018.

Dave Ryding: Alpine Skiing

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He shocked the alpine skiing world when he claimed Britain’s first World Cup skiing podium for 36 years when he took slalom silver in Kitzbuhel, last month.

But to those in the know it was less of a shock. Ryding has been steadily improving in recent years and had already scored a sixth-place finish in Levi, Finland, in November, and seventh in Zagreb, earlier in January.

The man from Bretherton then almost made another trip to the podium in Stockholm in the parallel slalom, but finished an agonising fourth, just 0.06s off a bronze medal.

Can he get on the podium again in the biggest show of all?

Team Muirhead: Curling

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Eve Muirhead led her rink to Olympic bronze at Sochi 2014, and World Championship gold in 2013.

Muirhead herself is a four-time junior World Champion and won the European Curling Championships in 2011.

The 26-year-old Scot is clearly used to success, and with Anna Sloan, Vicki Adams and Lauren Gray making up the rest of Team Muirhead they will be hoping to go two better than 2014 and emulate the feat of their compatriots in Salt Lake City 2002 – when Rhona Martin’s ‘stone of destiny’ won gold for Team GB.

Team Muirhead are already established as one of the world’s leading curling rinks, can they go all the way in PyeongChang?

Billy Morgan: Freestyle Snowboarding

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From starting on the dry slopes at the age of 14 to winning Winter X Games bronze in 2016, Billy Morgan’s rise up the snowboarding ranks has been a rapid one.

The Southampton native began his sporting career as an acrobatic gymnast but switched the trampoline for the snowboard and has not looked back.

He finished tenth in the men’s slopestyle final at Sochi 2014, having already got his first World Cup podium when he took bronze in Sierra Nevada the year before, and in 2015 became the first person to ever land a quad cork.

Morgan is not alone in the slopestyle ranks, either, with compatriot Jamie Nicholls also having made the Sochi 2014 slopestyle final and becoming the first British male to win a snowboard World Cup event last year.

Elise Christie: Short Track

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There’s not much this young Scot has left to achieve in the world of short track speed skating, but having left Sochi 2014 empty-handed she has a score to settle with the Olympic Winter Games.

Elise Christie has a habit of making history, doing so in 2015 by becoming the first British skater to win two medals at a World Championships.

And she followed that in 2016 by setting a world record in the 500m, retaining her European overall title and taking 500m, 1,000m and 1,500m crowns.

And with Charlotte Gilmartin, winner of the 2016 3,000m European title, snapping at her heels, Team GB looks to have a formidable squad forming.

James Woods: Freestyle Skiing

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After winning the Big Air competition to take a first ever Winter X Games gold medal this winter, James Woods is a man high on confidence.

The Sheffield free-skier suffered a hip injury in training for Sochi 2014; he competed through the pain and finished a remarkable fifth in the slopestyle, but will be hoping to be fully fit in 12 months time to show the watching world exactly what he is capable of.

‘Woodsy’ has shown that, with a fourth place in this season’s slopestyle and his win in the big air, he can turn his hand to a variety of events.

Andrew Young: Cross Country Skiing

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With two Olympic Games’ worth of experience already under his belt at such a young age, Andrew Young is certainly one to watch.

He finished 74th in the 15km freestyle at Vancouver 2010 and followed that up with 37th in the 15km classical.

Back in 2008 Young created history by becoming the youngest skier to even take to the startline in a World Cup event, and in December 2015 got a first ever top ten finish in a World Cup event with a ninth-place finish in the Davos freestyle sprint event.

Young is joined on the World Cup circuit by Andrew Musgrave, with the 26-year-old also having competed at the Vancouver and Sochi Games.

Katie Ormerod: Freestyle Snowboarding

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Another to win their first World Cup event this winter, Katie Ormerod took Big Air victory in Moscow last month as her preparations for PyeongChang 2018 look to be going perfectly.

She currently sits second in the overall Big Air World Cup standings, and with podium finishes in Copper, Moenchengladbach and Alpensia in the last few months, the young Brit is on a roll.

She also took second at the recent Air and Style event in Innsbruck, Austria, and is one of a flourishing crop of GB Park & Pipe boarders currently taking the world by storm.

Nick Buckland and Penny Coomes:  Ice Dancing

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Struck down by injury this season, Nick Buckland and Penny Coomes won bronze at the European Championships in 2014, as well as finishing tenth at that year’s Olympic Winter Games.

Coomes suffered a fractured kneecap in June 2016, forcing her to go under the knife twice in an attempt to get back to competition.

Prior to the injury Coomes and Buckland had moved to live in America, with the change of scenery paying off as they finished seventh at the 2016 World Championships.

The pair will hope Coomes is back to full fitness soon as they look to ramp up their preparations for PyeongChang 2018.

Sportsbeat 2017

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