Sochi Olympics close and Yarnold flies the flag

23 February 2014 / 18:22

Lizzy Yarnold carried the British flag into the closing ceremony of the Sochi Olympics at the end of a record-breaking Games for British athletes in Sochi.

It started with Team GB's first Olympic medal on snow, won by Jenny Jones in the snowboard slopestyle, continued with Yarnold's dominant victory in the skeleton and concluded with a silver and bronze for Britain's curling rinks.

And along the way British athletes reached a succession of finals and scooped a number of top ten finishes, with the last athletes in action, the drive John Jackson's four-man bobsleigh team, finishing fifth.

One gold, one silver and two bronzes equals Britain's best ever Winter Games performance, 90 years ago in Chamonix.

However, only 376 athletes attended those Games, just 16 were women, and 20 nations lined up. In Sochi 2,871 arrived from 88 nations and 26 nations won medals, a new record.

"I am proud of the team's achievements, we have competed to the upmost of our ability," said Team GB chef de mission Mike Hay. 

"I'm delighted with everybody, not just with the medals, but with the number of finals and top half finishes we have had. We have won four medals which sets a new standard for us. We have come a long way from Vancouver 2010 where we won just the one medal. The team has a young profile and I believe we can do even better in Pyeongchang in 2018.

"We are certainly heading in the right direction in terms of athletes competing for medals. It is a good platform to move on from. 

"It is about being credible and being able to prove we are worth investing in. We are making a difference here. Invest in us and we'll show you what we can do in Pyeongchang."

Russia finished the Games on top of the medal table with 13 golds, including a final day clean sweep for Alexander Legkov, Maxim Vylegzhanin and Ilia Chernousov in the 50km cross country skiing mass sprint.

But organising committee president Dmitry Chernyshenko paid tribute to all athletes in his closing address.

"This is the new face of Russia, our Russia," he said. "It is a great moment in our history, a moment to cherish and pass on to future generations. We conquered the Olympic summit.

© Sportsbeat 2014