Day eight of the Winter Olympic Games in South Korea has witnessed a record-breaking day for Team Great Britain.
Following skeleton racer Dom Parson winning Team GB’s first 2018 Olympic medal yesterday, female skier and skeleton athletes have today set a series of new British records. Declared as another ‘Super Saturday’ (originally named after British athletes winning six gold medals at the London Games in 2012), for the first time ever multiple Winter Olympic medals have been won in a single day by Great Britain.
At the skeleton track, Lizzy Yarnold battled a chest infection to successfully defend her Olympic title, winning yet another gold. Going into the fourth and final run 0.02 seconds behind Austrian leader Janine Flock, Yarnold couldn’t afford to make any minor mistakes. Nonetheless, with a strong start and able to build control on each turn, Yarnold set not only a large half-second gap against second place Jacqueline Loelling, but a track record of 51.46 seconds. An almost perfect run, Flock’s mistake on the first turn guaranteed Yarnold of being both the first British Winter Olympian and first female skeleton racer to win back-to-back gold medals.
Perhaps most surprising was skeleton racer Laura Deas’ bronze medal. Despite consistent and clean runs, it was believed that her final run of 51.91 seconds confirmed her fourth place position. Indeed, Deas looked particularly solemn after Germany’s Jacqueline Loelling, 0.17 seconds faster following a quick last turn, secured a medal position of at least third place. However, Flock’s series of mistakes also had positive repercussion for Deas, shockingly dissolving a large lead to be 0.02 seconds of a medal. The gold and bronze standing of the British women meant that, also for the first time, two Great British athletes stood on a podium together.
Meanwhile Team GB’s youngest athlete, 19-year-old Izzy Atkins, won Britain’s first medal in a skiing event. Receiving a bronze in the ladies’ ski slopestyle, Atkin’s medal was not guaranteed. Teetering on the edge of a medal position, Atkins went into her final run in fourth place. However, after a variation of falls from her competitors, the American-born Brit chose a more secure run with less outlandish tricks, cementing a 84.60 point run and therefore third place.
However, day eight was not entirely positive. Medal hopeful and European speed skating champion Elise Christie was unable to finish her fifth consecutive Olympic race. Competing in the 1500m semi-final, Christie crashed out after challenging China’s Li Jinyu on the final bend for second place. Despite being given a penalty, Christie was taken to hospital to have an X-ray on her ankle following the crash. Being confirmed that she has no broken bones, it is hoped that Christie will be able to compete in the 1000m speed skate.
Only half-way through the games, the events of the last two days have meant that Great Britain have already met their minimum medal target set by UK Sport of four medals (of any colour). With another week to go, there is hope that Team GB can reach the optimum target of ten medals.