Winter Sports

Team GB: A bright future for winter sports

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The Winter Olympics and winter events have never really been Team GB's speciality. Understandable as, despite a country filled with people complaining about the weather, snow is somewhat a rarity. Barring some miracle, it is highly unlikely Great Britain will ever excel in a snow sport. But what about the ice?

For Team GB, the ice has created countless memories. Particular names spring to mind: Amy Williams, Lizzy Yarnold and of course the pair who brought magic to the name of Boléro, Torvill and Dean. Figure Skating is GB's most successful winter sport with 15 medals in total.

When noticing the number of participants in a regular session at an ice rink you start to get an inkling why. Ice Rink sports are growing and, after an agonising Olympics for one Elise Christie, the popularity of such sports as short track speed skating is very much on the rise.

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At last year’s Sochi games there was for the very first time, a widely felt public sympathy for a GB winter athlete. Now seen as the spearhead of a growing sport, Elise Christie's Olympics could have had a hugely different and much happier ending. She is now one of Britain’s two main hopefuls of winning a medal in Pyeongchang in three years time. The other, none other than Lizzy Yarnold.

She secured Great Britain's first ever back to back gold medals in the same event in a Winter Olympics for the same country succeeding the crown worn by Amy Williams four years previously and has gone on to dominate her sport of skeleton ever since.

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Huge sums of money are being given to skeleton by funders in the hope of continuing to secure medals for the future. Skeletons popularity has surged thanks to Yarnold. But what of its sister sport Bobsleigh?

Recently merging with skeleton to form one bigger association, Bobsleigh (like Christie) is a story of hope after a near miss. An admirable fourth at the last games, again, money is being given to secure that elusive medal.

The two sports joining can only be good and with a new youth development team for Bobsleigh now in place and up and running, there seems to be finally some sort of 'grass roots' level for a GB Winter sport. The IOC's introduction in 2012 of the Youth Winter Olympic Games should only help matter further.

A total of 32 of Great Britain's 33 Winter Olympic medals have come from the ice and that doesn't seem like it will change very soon. Only time will tell us if we will finally see Team GB gaining true Winter Olympic standing in particular events and if the momentum means it all starts to snowball for Great Britain.

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Winter Sports

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