Sochi - Team GB
Britain has won only 22 medals in their Winter Olympic history with an average of either one or two at each Games. At the Vancouver Olympics in 2010 only one solitary medal came home, albeit a gold from Amy Williams in the skeleton. But, when you consider our lack of natural resources, facilities and limited funding, any medal should be seen as an achievement.
Great Britain’s team boss Mike Hay says there’s a new belief of winning medals at the 2014 Winter Olympics, but he’s warned about setting expectations too high after last year’s haul of 29 medals a the Summer Olympics. “We’re not going to go out there and win 30 medals", he says, but he believes there is plenty of potential for British medals in Sochi.
So, will GB rewrite the record books? Short-track speed skater Elise Christie certainly thinks so. She is Britain’s first World Cup champion at 1,000m and has a string of successes to her name. She’s not alone. Britain also boasts a world champion skeleton slider in Shelley Rudman, a double World Cup gold medallist and X Games bronze medallist in freestyle skier James Woods and a number of other athletes with genuine podium potential. Woods says, “My goal is not just to qualify for the Olympics but to smash it” and his determination is catching. Christie told BBC Sport “watching people like Amy Williams influences people, you realise you can do it.”
Athletes are still competing for places, but the number of GB competitors should total around 50. The women’s curling team were the first to be officially selected for Team GB in August and will be made up of the quartet who won gold for Scotland at the World Championships this year – skip Eve Muirhead, Claire Hamilton, Anna Sloan and Vicki Adams. The International skating union has just confirmed a further two athlete figure skating places for Team GB’s Stacey Kemp and David King, who missed out earlier this year at the World Championships. That makes a total of five GB figure skaters that will compete in dance, ladies singles, and pairs at the ‘Iceberg’ skating Palace in Sochi.
It seemsTeam GB is in a good position, with perhaps more strength and depth across more disciplines than ever had before, so let’s hope it works out for them at Sochi. And if all of this has got you chomping at the bit for tickets, then it is still possible to get some, but be quick.
Visit the official website www.sochi2014.com for all information.