Silver medals for Olympic skeleton champion Lizzy Yarnold and the two-man bobsleigh crew of Bruce Tasker and Toby Olubi ensured a memorable weekend of international racing for the University of Bath-based British Bobsleigh & Skeleton Association (BBSA).
Yarnold, in just her second race back after a season-long sabbatical, followed up her fourth-placed finish in Whistler a fortnight ago by finishing runner-up to Austria’s Janine Flock at the latest World Cup meeting in Lake Placid.
Those impressive results mean that Yarnold tops the women’s skeleton world rankings in the early stages of the eight-race season.
“After my year off, I’m glad to be back on the podium and I feel good about how I’m sliding,” she said. “Most of all I will take the positive out of the fact that I wasn’t necessarily the fastest in training this week but, come race day, something kicks in and I can bring it when it matters most.
“I’m looking forward to the Christmas break as world number one and I can’t wait to catch up with my family and friends.”
Fellow Brit Laura Deas finished joint tenth, jumping up six places after an impressive second run that knocked more than half a second off the time she posted first time down.
The next instalment of World Cup skeleton action comes in Altenberg, Germany on the weekend of January 6-8.
Meanwhile, Tasker and Olubi’s silver medal in Altenberg, Germany was Britain’s first podium finish in a Europa Cup two-man bobsleigh competition since January 2011.
The British pair finished just 0.23 seconds behind Latvia’s Oskars Kibermanis and Daumants Dreiskens, despite the fact that Tasker is less than three years into life as a pilot having begun his bobsleigh career as a brakeman.
“It’s a huge result for our two-man programme,” said GB Bobsleigh Performance Director Gary Anderson, who switched Tasker from World Cup to Europa Cup duty a fortnight ago.
“We elected to go to Germany to give Bruce experience here. It was a strategic decision to get him out to Altenberg – a track that is going to play a huge part in our Olympic preparation – and it seems to have paid off. This will give him a fantastic lift when we go back there for the first World Cup race after Christmas.
“You only have to look at the pilots that were in there to see just how good a field that was: you’ve got Olympic medalists, World Championship medalists and World Cup medalists, and Bruce has just beaten all bar one of them.
“Toby did an awesome job. Pairing him up with Bruce means we’ve got two fantastic athletes together. To get within one hundredth of a second of the all-time start record is a truly amazing performance from them both.”
On the World Cup circuit in Lake Placid, Lamin Deen and Judah Simpson placed 15th overall while Mica McNeill and Mica Moore had to settle for 14th place in the women’s competition after a crash early in their second run.
The four-man bobsleigh crew of Deen, Mark Lewis-Francis, Andrew Matthews and Tremayne Gilling finished a fine sixth overall.
BBSA athletes are based at the University of Bath, training in the high-performance gym and on the 140m outdoor push-track – the only one of its kind in the UK. Click here for more information.