A sailor, a badminton player and an American footballer are among the athletes to successfully come through the UK Sport, English Institute of Sport (EIS) and British Skeleton talent search Power2Podium.
The eight - four women and four men - have been chosen from over 1000 applicants after four phases of assessment.
They will be attempting to follow in the footsteps of Sochi 2014 Olympic champion Lizzy Yarnold who was discovered through similar scheme Girls4Gold in 2008.
Three of the athletes are from an athletics background, while 21-year-old Eleanor Furneaux was previously part of the RYA Youth Development Squad for Sailing and 22-year-old Tim Hull is a former county level badminton player. Two of the others, Craig Thompson, 22, and Chris Gray, 21, are both from footballing backgrounds.
The final recruit, 23-year-old Marcus Wyatt, led Swansea University American Football team to the national title in 2014.
He explained the process: “It was really tough but I learned a lot about myself at each phase we went through and I saw myself progress from the first stage through to the fourth. It was just a great experience to be a part of; I’m really excited about what lies ahead.”
Delivered by the UK Performance Pathway Team (a collaboration between UK Sport and the EIS), Power2Podium was a search for athletes who could adapt to skeleton and potentially compete at the 2022 Winter Games.
Dr Stewart Laing, Head of the UK Performance Pathway Team, said: “Following the success of previous campaigns like Girls4Gold, which unearthed Olympic champion Lizzy Yarnold and helped successfully transition her into skeleton, we are confident that these athletes joining British Skeleton will have the best possible chance of realising their full sporting potential.
“They will now benefit from a full range of world class support, including outstanding coaching, sports science and medicine, and access to cutting edge technology and the very best equipment.
“These talented athletes have successfully undertaken a gruelling multi-phased assessment process exploring all aspects of their physical and psychological potential to adapt to the demands they will face in this sport. It’s a truly exciting opportunity for these athletes and for British Skeleton as they work towards the ultimate goal of winning an Olympic medal.”
The final stage of testing for athletes involved adapting to a training environment and took place at the ice track in Lillehammer, Norway. This allowed the athletes to test themselves on the ice for the first time and for the coaches to assess them in this new environment.
Like Olympic champion Lizzy Yarnold, 20-year-old Brogan Crowley is a talented heptathlete, and has been inspired to succeed in the sport.
She said: “The whole process was something quite new, it was wasn’t like anything I’d experienced before but I loved the progression of the whole thing and I met some great people. I didn’t know a huge amount about the sport before the Olympics in Sochi but seeing Lizzy win made me really want to go for it and see how far I could get.”
Andi Schmid, overall performance adviser for British Skeleton, said: “I believe this group has what it takes and can be a very strong talent squad.
“The selection process is the first stage and in British Skeleton we have the track record of success in converting talent into medal winners. We have a very good idea of the characteristics of a potential medal winner but to guide them through the process is something quite different.
“We need to give them the time and opportunity to learn how to operate in an individual sport but in a team environment at our centralised training base at Bath where they will also benefit from good coaching and sport science support.
“They will need to learn how to deal with the pressures of hard training at a stage where they don’t have very much money at all. They will also need to learn how to deal with the pressure of competition and the stresses and strains of the quite extensive travelling that we have in our sport.
“In short we must create the right pathway. We won’t get it 100% right for all of them but we have a good idea that some of these eight will make it as medallists.”
Previous UK Sport and EIS talent identification campaigns have resulted in over 100 athletes entering the World Class system across 17 sports including London 2012 Olympic medallists Helen Glover and Lutalo Muhammad.
Full list of selected athletes
Brogan Crowley, 20, Athletics (Heptathlon)
Kim Murray, 26, Athletics (Long Jump)
Madelaine Smith, 19, Athletics (100m Hurdles)
Eleanor Furneaux, 21, Sailing
Marcus Wyatt, 23, American Football
Tim Hull, 22, Badminton
Craig Thompson, 22, Football
Chris Gray, 21, Football