Rose McGrandle had never set foot on the ice before being introduced to skeleton by the UK Sport and EIS Talent ID campaign Girls4Gold in 2008, now she is preparing to compete with her teammates for a spot on the FIBT World Cup circuit and ultimately the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games. We caught up with McGrandle at the British Skeleton HQ in Bath, just before she headed off for the GB selection races.
What is the mood like within British Skeleton at the moment?
At the moment British Skeleton is really positive, we’ve got such strong internal competition, our selection races are among the toughest out there! I guess people think there is pressure on us to perform, because in the past we have had success, but if you know you’ve got the right formula in place, there shouldn’t be any pressure. We’re confident that if we follow all the correct processes, success will follow.
How important is the team behind you in enabling that success?
It makes such a difference having a world class team behind you. At British Skeleton we have a high ratio of coaches to athletes, we’re Lottery funded and we have so much support and help through that funding. We can access coaches, support staff, medics and nutritionists; all the people that build a really strong programme for us. It’s a small programme, but it’s very strong. The important thing is surrounding yourself with the right people, because they are the ones that will get the best out of you, it’s not just about the individual; it’s about the whole team.
What is it like to compete all over the world?
Competing away from home is so much fun. You are away a lot but I don’t mind that, with modern technology you can keep in touch with all your friends and family, internet permitting! We get to see lots of different countries and meet people from lots of different nations.
I really enjoy travelling with the skeleton family; we’re all racing on the same circuit so you see them for six months of the year, that’s the bit that I really enjoy.
What do you miss the most when you’re away competing?
There are a few homely comforts that I miss, mainly family and friends and having free time to myself to relax. I do a lot of art work when I’m at home so I miss that; I can’t really travel the world with a giant box of paints and a massive canvas!
We’re heading into the winter season, how has your preparation gone?
We have our selection races coming up and I’m hoping to qualify for the World Cup, I have to be in the top two females of the four racing to qualify, that would then set me off on the right path for Sochi next year.
I’m feeling really positive about the season at the moment, the build-up and progression has been the best I’ve had so far. Everything from my pushing, through all the other elements I’m working on with my coaches has been much improved from the last two seasons. I’m really confident and I’m in great form, so I see no reason why I can’t perform well in selection and get to the World Cup, which is the stage I want to be performing on.
Is Sochi on your mind?
I know that this season culminates in the Olympic Games, but for me, if I start to think about that too much, I’m thinking too far ahead, I need to focus on all the small things I need to do to get me there first. It will be a big thing for me to perform in the selection races and then reach the World Cup, as it would be my debut on that circuit, and from then on I need to make sure I perform my best in every single race. That’s not to say I’m not thinking about Sochi at all, because everything is building towards that point.
For more information, visit the British Skeleton website or follow them on Twitter @britishskeleton.
Follow @RoseMcGrandle to follow her progress on the #RoadtoSochi.