Sheffield’s Shelley Rudman insists there is no need to panic but admitted there was work to do after her early practice runs at the Winter Olympics.
World champion Rudman is looking to upgrade the Olympic silver she won in 2006 in Sochi, with her toughest competition coming from team-mate Lizzy Yarnold, the newly crowned World Cup winner, and American Noelle Pikus-Pace. She competes on Thursday.
Rudman has enjoyed a consistent season to date, finishing third overall on the eight-race World Cup circuit, and is famed for her ability to quickly read and adapt to a track.
However, Sochi’s Sanki Sliding Center is viewed by sliders as the world’s most technical skeleton run, with three uphill sections meaning every mistake is punished and time off the start is key.
“There are still a few elements that I’m working on and I’m not quite as fast as I should be on the course but I’m hoping when it comes to official training I can put things together,” she said.
“Anything can happen on race day but I think it’s clear that we’ve all worked incredibly hard to get to this place, so that gives me reasons to be confident.”
Great Britain have a proud record in skeleton, winning medals at the last three Games – Alex Coomber’s bronze in Salt Lake, Rudman’s silver in Turin and a gold for Amy Williams four years ago in Vancouver.
Eight years ago Rudman was the sole medallist on Team GB but hopes are high the class of 2014 could produce their best Olympic performance ever, especially after Jenny Jones won snowboard slopestyle bronze on day two of the Games.
“It was incredible, there was a really great vibe in Team GB house all the athletes were watching Jenny and she was incredible, I think it’s really uplifted the whole team and we’re really proud,” added Rudman.
“We’re a really small team but the atmosphere among us is incredibly close. The medal from Jenny is only going to build momentum and I hope off the back of this we will have a huge influx of athletes coming in to try them.”
Meanwhile, Yarnold has praised teammate and rival Rudman for making sure she does not get swept up in the emotion of her Olympic debut.
“I take a lot from Shelley and she’s a great help to me,” she said. “We are going into the Olympics with World Cup and world champions, so Great Britain skeleton squad is an amazing team to be a part of.”
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