PyeongChang 2018: How Winter Olympic dreams are given a push-start at the University of Bath

13 February 2018

When Team GB’s skeleton athletes take to the track this week at PyeongChang 2018, they will be looking to continue a proud tradition of Winter Olympic Games medals.

Since the UK’s only outdoor push-start track for bobsleigh and skeleton training was officially opened at the University of Bath in 2002, athletes using the facility have gone on to claim podium places at each of the four Games.

Alex Coomber won women’s skeleton bronze at Salt Lake City 2002, then University of Bath graduate Shelley Rudman secured silver at Turin 2006 before Amy Williams – a member of the University’s Hall of Fame for Sport – and Lizzy Yarnold famously struck gold at Vancouver 2010 and Sochi 2014 respectively.

Find out more about the history of the push-start track in this video…

The concrete track was refurbished in 2015 and extended to 140m, with the longer run-off and new magnetic brake system – which replaced the previous bungee arrangement – improving safety and comfort.

As well as skeleton and bobsleigh training, the track is used for corporate events and is always a hugely-popular destination during the annual Team Bath Family Fun Days. Click here for more information about how to book the facility.

British Bobsleigh & Skeleton Association (BBSA) slider Yarnold will be looking to become the first women’s skeleton athlete to defend her crown when she races on Friday and Saturday – she set the fastest run in official practice on Tuesday. Team-mate Laura Deas has also impressed in training this week as she prepares for her Olympic debut.

Looking to win a first medal in men’s skeleton are debutant Jerry Rice and Dom Parsons, a Mechanical Engineering PhD student at the University of Bath who has also been setting rapid times in training. They start their campaign at 1am GMT on Thursday, with the medals being decided on Friday.

Follow all the PyeongChang 2018 news and see who is competing when by clicking here.
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