Lizzy Yarnold

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Elizabeth Anne Yarnold
OBE
Lizzy Yarnold 2017 Lake Placid WC (1 of 5).jpg
Personal information
Full nameElizabeth Anne Yarnold
Nickname(s)Lizzy, She-ra[1], The Yarnold, OC[2]
NationalityBritish
Born (1988-10-31) 31 October 1988 (age 30)
Sevenoaks, Kent, England[3]
ResidencePortsmouth, Hampshire [3]
Height5 ft 8 in (173 cm)[1]
Weight11 st 0 lb; 150 lb (70 kg)[1]
Spouse(s)
James Roche (m. 2016)
Sport
Country Great Britain
SportSkeleton
Coached byEric Bernotas[4]

Elizabeth Anne Yarnold, OBE[5] (born 31 October 1988) is a former 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.[6] 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.[7][8][9] Yarnold was selected to be one of the two women skeleton drivers representing Team GB at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang,[10] 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.[11] 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.[12] Yarnold was also the flag bearer for Great Britain at the Pyeongchang opening ceremony.[13]

Early life and education[edit]

Lizzy Yarnold, 2017, Lake Placid

Born in Sevenoaks, Kent, Yarnold was educated at St Michael's Preparatory School, an independent school in the village of Otford, Kent,[14] followed by Maidstone Grammar School for Girls in the Kent county town of Maidstone, where she became Head Girl.[15] After undertaking UCAS clearing post her A Levels, Yarnold chose to study geography and sport and exercise science at the University of Gloucestershire.[16][17]

Personal life[edit]

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.[18]

On 1 May 2016, Yarnold married engineer James Roche, who co-designed Yarnold's sled while working for McLaren Applied Technologies.[19][20]

Introduction to skeleton[edit]

Yarnold was initially a heptathlete; she was inspired to take up the sport after watching Denise Lewis at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.[8]

In 2008, Yarnold took part in UK Sport's Girls4Gold talent search scheme.[21] Initially she thought she would be suitable for a sport involving horses but UK Sport identified skeleton as a good option.[21][22] 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.[1]

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[23] and became junior World Champion and a bronze medallist in the senior World Championships in 2012.[1]

Her sled is named Mervyn after a former work colleague of hers, Mervyn Sugden.[23]

2013/14 season[edit]

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[23] and the Olympic gold medal at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, ahead of Pikus-Pace by 0.97 seconds.[8] 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.

Yarnold was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2014 Birthday Honours for services to skeleton racing.[24]

2014/15 season[edit]

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.[25] 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.[26]

In September 2015, Yarnold announced that she would take a year-long break and miss the 2015/16 skeleton season due to burnout.[27]

2016/17 season[edit]

After a year out of competition, Yarnold finished fourth on her return at Whistler in December 2016.[28] In the World Championships held at Königssee in February 2017, Yarnold won the bronze medal.[29] She finished the year seventh in the IBSF rankings and ninth in the World Cup.[30][31]

2017/18 season[edit]

Having suffered from dizzy spells for several years, in September 2017 Yarnold disclosed that she had been diagnosed with a vestibular disorder affecting the inner ear.[32] After a relatively poor season,[33] she successfully defended her Olympic title at the 2018 Games in Pyongchang, despite suffering from a number of health problems: upon arriving in South Korea for the Games, she developed a chest infection which worsened to the point where she was having trouble speaking and breathing, and on the first day of competition, she suffered from dizziness due to a flare-up of her vestibular condition.[34] She took the lead with a new track record on the first run: despite this she subsequently admitted that she was on the verge of pulling out of the competition due to her health problems.[35] Dropping down to third place after the second run, albeit just a tenth of a second behind overnight leader Jacqueline Lölling, her health improved for the second day, and she subsequently moved up to second after the third run, two hundredths of a second behind new leader Janine Flock.[35][36] On the final run she set another track record to clinch the gold by almost half a second.[35] She subsequently stated that she considers her second Olympic gold to be her greatest achievement.[2]

Post-Pyongchang activities and retirement[edit]

Just weeks after the 2018 Olympics, Yarnold underwent knee surgery to remove a tumour in her knee which had been discovered six months before the Games. Following this the use of crutches worsened back pain which she had suffered for several years, which was diagnosed as being the result of a displaced disc, resulting in her being prescribed powerful painkillers for several months afterwards.[34] She subsequently underwent a successful operation on her back in July 2018.[2]

Despite stating in September 2018 that she was planning on returning to training,[37] she announced her retirement from competition the following month. She acts as a mentor to young athletes and works for the British Olympic Association's athlete commission.[2]

IBSF rankings[edit]

Yarnold has ranked on the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) rankings since the 2010–11 season.[38]

  • 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[edit]

Overall standings[edit]

2011—12 2012—13 2013—14 2014—15
Races Points Position Races Points Position Races Points Position Races Points Position
4/8 714 19th 8/8 1546 4th 8/8 1672 1st 7/8 1511 2nd
2015—16 2016—17 2017—18
Races Points Position Races Points Position Races Points Position
Did not compete 7/8 1162 9th 8/8 1044 9th

Race victories[edit]

No. Season Round Date Location Margin Runner-up
1 2011–12 6 20 January 2012 Switzerland St. Moritz, Switzerland 0.25 United Kingdom Shelley Rudman
2 8 10 February 2012 Canada Calgary, Canada 0.54 Germany Anja Huber
3 2013–14 1 30 November 2013 Canada Calgary, Canada 0.24 Russia Elena Nikitina
4 4 15 December 2013 United States Lake Placid, USA 0.34 Austria Janine Flock
5 5 4 January 2014 Germany Winterberg, Germany 0.57 United States Noelle Pikus-Pace
6 7 18 January 2014 Austria Igls, Austria 0.32 United States Noelle Pikus-Pace
7 2014–15 1 13 December 2014 United States Lake Placid, USA 0.77 Canada Elisabeth Vathje
8 4 16 January 2015 Germany Königssee, Germany 0.71 Germany Anja Huber
9 6 7 February 2015 Austria Igls, Austria 0.18 Canada Elisabeth Vathje
10 7 8 February 2015 Austria Igls, Austria 0.30 Austria Janine Flock
11 8 14 February 2015 Russia Sochi, Russia 0.04 Russia Maria Orlova

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "Lizzy Yarnold". www.britishskeleton.co.uk. Archived from the original on 14 February 2014. Retrieved 15 February 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d Ingle, Sean (15 October 2018). "Lizzy Yarnold quits skeleton after living the Olympic ice queen dream". theguardian.com. Retrieved 27 October 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Lizzy Yarnold". www.teamgb.com. Retrieved 10 February 2014.
  4. ^ Yarnold, Lizzy (15 January 2015). "Lizzy Yarnold column: I couldn't get going after dizzy spells". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 16 January 2015.
  5. ^ "OBE, Birthday list 2018". 9 June 2018. Retrieved 9 June 2018.
  6. ^ Sport, U. K. (17 February 2018). "GOLD for Lizzy Yarnold pic.twitter.com/3e4vSStWvC". @uk_sport. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  7. ^ "FIBT ranking - skeleton women - Yarnold, Elizabeth". FIBT. Retrieved 15 February 2014.
  8. ^ a b c Hope, Nick (14 February 2014). "Lizzy Yarnold wins Sochi 2014 gold for Great Britain". BBC Sport. Retrieved 14 February 2014.
  9. ^ "Lizzy Yarnold crowned European skeleton champion in Austria". bbc.co.uk. 8 February 2015. Retrieved 8 February 2015.
  10. ^ "Quartet earn Olympic Skeleton spots" (Press release). British Bobsleigh and Skeleton Association. 22 January 2018. Retrieved 22 January 2018.
  11. ^ "Winter Olympics: Lizzy Yarnold defends skeleton gold as Laura Deas takes bronze". BBC Sport. 17 February 2018. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  12. ^ Jorge GUERRERO; César GRANDE (17 February 2018). "Official results book, 2018 Olympic Winter Games (Skeleton)" (PDF). PyeongChang Organising Committee for the Olympic Games. p. 88. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  13. ^ Telegraph Sport (8 February 2018). "Lizzy Yarnold named Team GB flagbearer at Winter Olympics opening ceremony". Pyeongchang. The Telegraph. Retrieved 8 February 2018.
  14. ^ St. Michael's Preparatory School - Lizzy Yarnold Archived 14 March 2014 at the Wayback Machine. Publisher: St. Michael's School, Otford, Kent. Retrieved: 14 March 2014.
  15. ^ Lizzy Yarnold wins Winter Olympics skeleton gold and urges fans to follow their dreams. Claire Carter. The Daily Telegraph. 14 February 2014. Retrieved: 14 March 2014.
  16. ^ "Olympic Gold Medallist gives advice on clearing".
  17. ^ Lizzy Yarnold - Great Britain Skeleton Athlete lizzyyarnold.com. Retrieved: 14 March 2014.
  18. ^ https://twitter.com/TheYarnold/status/956588154483601408
  19. ^ "Olympic champion Lizzy Yarnold set to marry sled designer James Roche". 11 May 2015. Archived from the original on 21 December 2015. Retrieved 17 September 2015.
  20. ^ Pyman, Tom. "West Kingsdown's Winter Olympic champion Lizzy Yarnold celebrates May Day wedding". Archived from the original on 4 May 2016.
  21. ^ a b "Lizzy's story - Spotlight on Girls4gold graduate Lizzy Yarnold". UK Sport. 13 February 2014.
  22. ^ "Golden girl Yarnold only took up skeleton five years ago". UK Eurosport. 14 February 2014. Retrieved 15 February 2014.
  23. ^ a b c "Sliding for gold: skeleton Athlete Lizzy Yarnold". www.channel4.com. 13 February 2014. Retrieved 14 February 2014.
  24. ^ "No. 60895". The London Gazette (Supplement). 14 June 2014. p. b26.
  25. ^ "Lizzy Yarnold wins world championship title to seal skeleton grand slam". theguardian.com. 7 March 2015. Retrieved 18 September 2015.
  26. ^ "Viessmann FIBT World Cup in Sochi: Janine Flock claims overall victory, Fifth win of the season for Lizzy Yarnold". International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation. 14 February 2015. Retrieved 18 September 2015.
  27. ^ Hope, Nick (17 September 2015). "Lizzy Yarnold: Olympic skeleton champion taking year-long break". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 18 September 2015.
  28. ^ "BMW IBSF World Cup: Skeleton athlete Elisabeth Vathje wins opening event in Whistler". International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation. 3 December 2016. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
  29. ^ "2017 BMW IBSF World Championships: Skeleton gold medal for Jacqueline Lölling of Germany". International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation. 25 February 2017. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
  30. ^ "Standings: Women's Skeleton: BMW IBSF Ranking". International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
  31. ^ "Standings: 2016/17: Women's Skeleton: BMW IBSF World Cup". International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
  32. ^ McDaid, David (15 September 2017). "Lizzy Yarnold: Olympic skeleton champion diagnosed with vestibular disorder". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 27 October 2018.
  33. ^ Rich, Tim (8 February 2018). "Lizzy Yarnold interview: 'After winning everything I had to take time off'". inews.co.uk. Retrieved 27 October 2018.
  34. ^ a b Kelner, Martha (31 July 2018). "Lizzy Yarnold: I wanted to scream 'I wish people knew the truth'". theguardian.com. Retrieved 27 October 2018.
  35. ^ a b c Bloom, Ben; Coles, Ben (17 February 2018). "Lizzy Yarnold takes gold to retain Olympic title as Laura Deas wins bronze". telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 17 October 2018.
  36. ^ Ingle, Sean (17 February 2018). "Lizzy Yarnold takes skeleton gold to make Winter Olympics history for Britain". theguardian.com. Retrieved 27 October 2018.
  37. ^ "Lizzy Yarnold: Two-time Olympic skeleton champion not ruling out Beijing 2022 after back surgery". bbc.co.uk. 12 September 2018. Retrieved 27 October 2018.
  38. ^ "Standings". International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation. Retrieved 13 June 2018.

External links[edit]