Olympic champion Lizzy Yarnold will make her return to international competition in December after being named in the British Bobsleigh & Skeleton Association (BBSA) World Cup squads for the 2016-17 season.
Joining Yarnold on the skeleton circuit will be emerging talent Jack Thomas and the experienced duo of Laura Deas and University of Bath Mechanical Engineering PhD student Dom Parsons, who is supported by the Team Bath Dual Career programme.
Lamin Deen, Brad Hall, Bruce Tasker and Mica McNeill have been named as pilots for the World Cup bobsleigh squads, while Joel Fearon – the fastest sprinter in Britain this year – is once again among the brakemen and former British 100m record holder Montell Douglas joins the women’s squad.
Yarnold won the Olympic, World, European and World Cup titles in the space of 400 days before deciding to sit out the 2015-16 season and recharge her batteries.
She was back to her best during the national selection race in Lillehammer, Norway, last month as she set a new track record.
“I’m excited to be back on the World Cup circuit,” said Yarnold, who – like her BBSA team-mates – trains at the University of Bath on the unique outdoor push-track.
“My year off from competition did me the world of good and I’m pleased with how my pre-season has gone so far. We’ve got a strong team and I hope we can get the results we are capable of.”
GB Skeleton Performance Director Andi Schmid added: “Having Lizzy back sliding is a huge positive for the team as a whole. Her achievements speak for themselves but she is also a fantastic role model and she has a great influence on new and experienced sliders alike.
“I am looking forward to seeing her enjoy further success but I’m also confident that Laura will push on from her maiden World Cup win last season and Dom will be looking to take the next step after finishing fifth in the overall World Cup standings.
“Jack has been in really impressive form in pre-season and he showed on his World Cup debut in March that he has the potential to compete at the very top.”
GB Bobsleigh Performance Director Gary Anderson was delighted to retain the services of Fearon, who is aiming to compete at the World Championships in both bobsleigh and athletics during 2017, and attract athletes of the caliber of Commonwealth Games medallist Douglas to the programme.
“Joel and Montell have their hearts set on an Olympic medal and it says a lot about the quality of our coaching staff and our other athletes that they are convinced they can achieve that aim with us in 2018,” said Anderson.
“We are genuinely excited about what lies ahead this season. This is undoubtedly the strongest squad we have had in my time as Performance Director and it’s another example of how far we have come in the past six years.
“Last season we achieved our best two-man result in a World Championships for half a century and we were agonizingly close to a first World Championship medal since 1939 in the four-man event.
“We have put strong foundations in place and now our job is to build on those as we head towards what we hope will be a medal-winning Winter Olympics in 2018.”
The new World Cup season kicks off in the first week of December in Whistler, Canada, with a further seven races following across North America, Europe and Asia.
British athletes will also compete on the European, North American and Intercontinental Cup circuits, with those competitions kicking off in the first two weeks of November.
For a full race schedule, visit http://www.thebbsa.co.uk/race-calendar/
Great Britain Skeleton Men’s World Cup squad: Dom Parsons, Jack Thomas.
Great Britain Skeleton Women’s World Cup squad: Laura Deas, Lizzy Yarnold.
Great Britain Bobsleigh Men’s World Cup squad: Pilots: Lamin Deen, Brad Hall, Bruce Tasker. Brakemen: John Baines, Sam Blanchet, Greg Cackett, Joel Fearon, Tremayne Gilling, Mark Lewis-Francis, Andrew Matthews, Ben Simons, Judah Simpson.
Great Britain Bobsleigh Women’s World Cup squad: Pilot: Mica McNeill. Brakewomen: Montell Douglas, Anya Kay, Mica Moore.
Great Britain Bobsleigh Men’s European Cup squad: Pilots: Olly Biddulph, Brad Hall, Bruce Tasker. Brakemen: Jonny Anderson, Axel Brown Nick Gleeson, Paul Judson, Toby Olubi, Justin Oro-Campos, Ashley Watson.
Great Britain Bobsleigh Women’s Accelerated Driver Programme: Sian Huxtable, Aleasha Kiddle.