SKELETON: Still out in front
9:00am Saturday 1st March 2014 in By Owen Houlihan
SHELLEY Rudman was there during its cash-strapped embryonic days but the Pewsey slider believes British Skeleton is well placed to continue its domination on ice up to the next Winter Olympics in 2018.
The three-time Olympian, now well in to her second decade as a Great Britain skeleton athlete, has progressed from being one of the early sel-funded trail-blazers to an experienced member of a med-winning set-up that boasts multi-million pound funding.
Teammate Lizzy Yarnold’s gold medal triumph at the recent Sochi Games, following that of Amy Williams in Vancouver four years ago, underlined the strength of the sport in this country – Great Britain being the only nation with no ice track to ever lay claim to an Olympic sliding gold medal.
Those successes built on the bronze of Alex Coomber at Salt Lake City in 2002 and Rudman herself four years later in 2006, Yarnold actually emerging from the Girls4Gold talent ID programme launched by the Wiltshire woman and Olympic gold medal-winning cyclist Victoria Pendleton six years ago.
Rudman said: “The British women have medalled at every event since it became part of the programme in Salt Lake City.
“All of the medal successes so far have enabled the sport to receive more funding for the following Olympic cycles.
“Hopefully this will continue and the sport will support the next generation of youngsters to come through.
“It’s evolved greatly since I first started, and it’s now a great sport to be involved with.
“We didn’t have alot of depth in the women’s field in skeleton and Girls4gold was launched by myself and Victoria Pendleton to attract a range of females who would then be talent ID’d and filtered into a sport which they would be best suited to, then fast tracked through to target an Olympic gold medal.’’
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