|Full name||Elizabeth Anne Yarnold|
31 October 1988 |
Sevenoaks, Kent, England
|Residence||Portsmouth, Hampshire |
|Height||1.73 m (5 ft 8 in)|
|Weight||70 kg (154 lb)|
|Spouse(s)||James Roche (m. 2016)|
|Coached by||Eric Bernotas|
Elizabeth Anne Yarnold, OBE (born 31 October 1988) is a British skeleton racer who joined the Great Britain national squad in 2010. With consecutive Olympic gold medals in 2014 and 2018, she is the most successful British Winter Olympian and the most successful Olympic Skeleton athlete of all time from any nation. She won the 2013–14 Skeleton World Cup (only once finishing off the podium the whole season), followed by a gold in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Yarnold was selected to be one of the two women skeleton drivers representing Team GB at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, and went on to become the first person to defend an Olympic gold in skeleton and the first British athlete to defend a Winter Olympic title. Yarnold set the track record for women's skeleton at the Olympic venue in the final heat of the race with a time of 51.46 seconds, beating Jacqueline Lölling's pre-Olympic record by nearly 1.3 seconds and her own first-heat record by 0.2 second. Yarnold was also the flag bearer for Great Britain at the Pyeongchang opening ceremony.
Early life and education
Born in Sevenoaks, Kent, Yarnold was educated at St Michael's Preparatory School, an independent school in the village of Otford, Kent, followed by Maidstone Grammar School for Girls in the Kent county town of Maidstone, where she became Head Girl. After undertaking UCAS clearing post her A Levels, Yarnold chose to study geography and sport and exercise science at the University of Gloucestershire.
Since taking up the skeleton sled, Yarnold has lived in Bath, Somerset, initially in a flat owned by former skeleton athlete and Olympic gold medallist in the 2010 Winter Olympics, Amy Williams. In 2018 she tweeted that Portsmouth was home.
Introduction to skeleton
In 2008, Yarnold took part in UK Sport's Girls4Gold talent search scheme. Initially she thought she would be suitable for a sport involving horses but UK Sport identified skeleton as a good option. She began competing in 2010, winning her first official race in the Europa Cup at Igls in November. The next day she had her second win.
In subsequent seasons Yarnold honed her skeleton-racing skills, learned courses, and achieved the athletic performance required to compete at World Cup level. She finished the 2011/12 season in 9th position and became junior World Champion and a bronze medallist in the senior World Championships in 2012.
Her sled is named Mervyn after a former work colleague of hers, Mervyn Sugden.
From the first world cup practice run of the Olympic season it was apparent that Yarnold had found a new level of competitiveness, consistently topping timing sheets. She won the opening race in Calgary in controversial circumstances when US athlete Noelle Pikus-Pace was disqualified for a technical infringement. This set the scene for a season-long duel with Pikus-Pace. Yarnold eventually secured the World Cup Championship at the last race of the season in Königssee and the Olympic gold medal at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, ahead of Pikus-Pace by 0.97 seconds. The Olympic performance was remarkable as she had the fastest run of each of the four runs and set new track records on her first and third runs. Yarnold's gold was the tenth gold medal ever achieved by British athletes in 90 years of Winter Olympics competition. It also ensured that Great Britain had won a medal in the Women's Skeleton in every Winter Olympics since the event was introduced.
Following her success in the Olympics and World Cup, Yarnold completed a career grand slam in 2014/15 by becoming European Champion in February 2015 and World Champion the following month. She broke the track record at Winterberg twice in the course of her World Championship victory. She finished as runner-up to Janine Flock in that season's World Cup standings, winning five World Cup races and being defeated by a narrow margin of 20 points after missing the Calgary round of the series for health reasons.
After a year out of competition, Yarnold finished fourth on her return at Whistler in December 2016. In the World Championships held at Königssee in February 2017, Yarnold won the bronze medal. She finished the year seventh in the IBSF rankings and ninth in the World Cup.
- 2010–11 35th
- 2011–12 9th
- 2012–13 6th
- 2013–14 1st
- 2014–15 1st
- 2015–16 -
- 2016–17 7th
- 2017-18 12th
World Cup results
|Did not compete||7/8||1162||9th||8/8||1044||9th|
Race victories (11)
|1||2011–12||6||20 January 2012||St. Moritz, Switzerland||0.25||Shelley Rudman|
|2||8||10 February 2012||Calgary, Canada||0.54||Anja Huber|
|3||2013–14||1||30 November 2013||Calgary, Canada||0.24||Elena Nikitina|
|4||4||15 December 2013||Lake Placid, USA||0.34||Janine Flock|
|5||5||4 January 2014||Winterberg, Germany||0.57||Noelle Pikus-Pace|
|6||7||18 January 2014||Igls, Austria||0.32||Noelle Pikus-Pace|
|7||2014–15||1||13 December 2014||Lake Placid, USA||0.77||Elisabeth Vathje|
|8||4||16 January 2015||Königssee, Germany||0.71||Anja Huber|
|9||6||7 February 2015||Igls, Austria||0.18||Elisabeth Vathje|
|10||7||8 February 2015||Igls, Austria||0.30||Janine Flock|
|11||8||14 February 2015||Sochi, Russia||0.04||Maria Orlova|
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