Sochi 2014 gold medallist Lizzy Yarnold has today (3 Mar) helped launch Power2Podium: Skeleton, a nationwide search for Winter Olympic champions of the future.
Following the recent success of Great Britain in Russia, a partnership of UK Sport, the English Institute of Sport (Performance Pathway Team) and British Skeleton has launched Power2Podium: Skeleton with the aim of discovering athletes who have what it takes to compete at the 2022 Winter Games.
Yarnold, who added skeleton gold to Great Britain’s record equalling tally of four medals in Sochi, is a graduate of a similar campaign, Girls4Gold, and went from skeleton novice to Olympic champion just five years after trying the sport for the first time.
She said: "I was one of over 1000 athletes who signed up to Girls4Gold back in 2008 and had little idea where the journey would take me. Now, I’m an Olympic champion in a sport I hadn’t even heard of at the time.
"I’d encourage anyone to take up this opportunity with Power2Podium, it could be the start of something very special. There are so many fantastic athletes out there who just might not have found the best sport for them yet.
"Skeleton is a huge adrenalin rush - it’s scary, unique and fantastic and I’d recommend giving it a go. Being part of an Olympic sport is incredible and British Skeleton give you all the support you need to fulfil your potential."
Power2Podium: Skeleton is aimed at talented males and females aged 17-25 who are currently competing in any sport at a regional standard and believe they can achieve Olympic success. No previous experience in skeleton is required, but athletes should have the raw talent and capacity to develop under the guidance of elite coaches in a world class environment.
Great Britain is the only nation to have won a medal every time skeleton has been on the programme at the Olympic Winter Games, including two golds at the previous two Games.
British Skeleton Performance Director Nigel Laughton commented on the launch of Power2Podium: Skeleton: "Whilst we are still enjoying the reaction back in the UK to Lizzy's stunning gold medal win at the Olympic Winter Games, as a sport, British Skeleton's continued success on the world stage has in part been down to the systematic approach we apply to developing talented young athletes for the future.
"We are looking to add to our world-class squad of sliders and ensure that the success of British Skeleton continues for many Olympic cycles to come - and there is no better time to encourage promising young athletes to come and try out for skeleton. If you think you have what it takes, please don't hesitate to sign up."
The Performance Pathway Team has completed nine national athlete recruitment projects assessing over 87,000 athletes who were previously unknown to the UK World Class system. These projects have resulted in over 100 athletes transitioning into the World Class system, achieving 364 senior international appearances and 134 senior international medals.
As well as Yarnold’s success at Sochi 2014, nineteen identified athletes from previous campaigns represented Great Britain at the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games, including rower Helen Glover, who was part of the crew which won Team GB’s first gold medal of the Games, and Taekwondo athlete Lutalo Muhammad, who won Olympic bronze.
Natalie Dunman, Head of Performance Pathways at UK Sport, said: "Power2Podium is an ambitious programme to fast track outstanding male and female talent into the Olympic skeleton programme.
"We are looking for both male and female athletes who have the drive and ambition to fulfil their sporting potential with the ultimate aim of becoming part of a World Class Programme and achieving medals on the international stage, just like Girls4Gold graduate Lizzy Yarnold.
"Our experience tells us there are people out there with the potential to be Olympic or Paralympic champions but they may not have had the opportunity to connect with the right sport or have the necessary support network to succeed."
Find out more about Power2Podium: Skeleton >