Yarnold staying confident ahead of World Cup trials

17 October 2013 / 15:18

Lizzy Yarnold knows the next week could be decisive in her Olympic ambition - but insists she wouldn't have it any other way.

Yarnold, a world bronze medallist in 2012, is one of four British women skeleton sliders going for two places on the World Cup squad at next week's selection trials in Altenberg.

World champion Shelley Rudman, an Olympic silver medallist in 2006, has already secured her spot on the team, leaving Yarnold to battle it out with Donna Creighton, Rose McGrandle and Laura Daes to join her.

"It's strange that in an Olympic year the hardest race of my entire season could be the British selection trials," she said.

"But I love the fact that just making the British team is so tough. You can't go into those trials halfheartedly and, if you do well, then it sets you up for the entire season with a massive confidence boost.

"I'm not looking ahead to Sochi yet. I'm just looking to the next training session, the next session with my sports psychologist or my nutritionist. You can't get ahead of yourself when it's this competitive.

"The British team ethic is to be very focussed on yourself. We don't get too concerned about our rivals, either at home or internationally. All I can do is do it my own way."

And 'doing it her way' has proved a winning formula for 24-year old Yarnold, a former heptathlete who first attempted the sport just four years ago.

Since then she has won the world junior title and claimed a bronze and fourth at the most recent World Championships. She also ranked fourth in last year's World Cup standings, with two podium performances.

But that counts for nothing when she lines up in Germany next week, with four runs potentially making or breaking her Olympic season.

"It's a big week and then there are some more big weeks ahead before we even think about Sochi," she added.

"All the athletes that make the World Cup squad have got the important role of qualifying as many slots as we can for the Olympics. We've never qualified three sliders before and we've got every chance."

Great Britain have won skeleton medals at the last three Games - Alex Coomber's bronze in Salt Lake, Rudman's silver in Turin and Amy Williams' gold in Vancouver.

Williams - who happens to be Yarnold's landlady - is a big admirer of her tenant, who wrote her degree course dissertation on ‘mental toughness’.

But Yarnold is also a figure of contrasts - a self-confessed adrenalin junkie, who rode horses and skied as a youngster, she has recently found a new sporting passion in golf.

"Valentine's Day is the finals of the women skeleton. It's something I've been dreaming about since I watched Denise Lewis win gold in Sydney," she added. 

"It's not something I'm scared or nervous about, I'm just extremely excited to potentially be part of the team.

"I'm training every day to get gold - that's my sole reason and purpose and that's what I'm daring to dream."

© Sportsbeat 2013