Slider Dom Parsons refreshed and ready to work on improvements as Winter Olympic year gets under way
After recharging his batteries over the Christmas break, skeleton ace Dom Parsons is sliding into a Winter Olympic year confident of finding the improvements he needs to challenge for a medal in PyeongChang.
The University of Bath Mechanical Engineering PhD student is currently ranked 12th in the BMW ISBF World Cup men’s skeleton rankings after the first five races of the 2017-18 season, with his best result being ninth place at Winterberg last month.
Parsons admits it is not the form he was hoping to show in the build-up to the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, taking place in South Korea in February, but he believes he can get it right on the biggest occasion.
“The most important races this season are in PyeongChang, so as long as I qualify and am selected then I still have the chance to fight for a medal,” said Parsons, who returns to the World Cup circuit at Altenberg in Germany on Friday.
“It hasn’t quite clicked yet this season but there are reasons for some of the results that I can identify and I know what I need to work on. On some runs I have been trying things out with PyeongChang in mind and not necessarily for that particular track – ultimately it’s all about working towards February.
“There is a lot of strength right through the men’s field this season but it is also very tight. Sungbin Yun has obviously been in really good form and making Martins Dukurs look mortal, which is difficult to do, but races have been very close and if you make even just a couple of mistakes – which unfortunately I have done – then you can drop several places.”
Parsons will find out after next week’s World Cup race in St Moritz whether he has been officially selected to represent Team GB at a second Winter Olympic Games, having placed in the top ten at Sochi 2014.
He admits it is difficult not to become all consumed by the prospect of PyeongChang but knew it was important to take as much of a break as possible over the festive period.
“It’s hard to take a step back in our sport, especially in an Olympic year, as there is always something you can work on,” he said. “Even on days off you can find stuff to do like rebuild the sled, do a little gym session, catch up on a few notes – then the day’s gone.
“You are constantly hunting for the perfect run and looking at ways you can get there but I’ve forced myself to take some time off and make sure I am fresher physically and mentally – that could make all the difference come February.”
Parsons is part of the hugely-successful British Bobsleigh & Skeleton Association (BBSA) squad based at the University of Bath. The athletes train in the high-performance gym and on the UK’s only outdoor push-start track.
British Skeleton has produced medallists at each of the last four Winter Olympic Games – Alex Coomber won bronze at Salt Lake City in 2002 and Shelley Rudman took silver at Turin 2006 before Amy Williams and Lizzy Yarnold were crowned as champions in 2010 and 2014 respectively.