Shelley Rudman spent last night doing her homework, as the skeleton bobsleigh competitor prepared for her first race in the Sochi Winter Olympics today.
Unlike in previous Games, the pressure appears to be off Rudman a little in what is a highly-competitive field, with much expected of Team GB colleague Lizzy Yarnold, who has impressed in recent days and was quickest in the fifth run of yesterday’s practice.
However, the silver medallist from the Turin Games in 2006 - she was sixth in Vancouver four years ago - is still more than capable of finishing up on the podium and of course became World Champion, when picking up gold in St. Moritz, Switzerland last year.
Yesterday Rudman ranked eighth and third in her runs, though not all sliders competed and the Sheffield-based star knows that she will have to provide something special when the event begins in the Sanki sliding centre.
To that end, last night was one spent studying the track and reflecting on how hard she has worked to make it to Sochi, alongside her partner Kristan Bromley who also competes this week.
“I feel like it has taken a lot to get to this point to be here in Sochi, I know I couldn’t have done anymore,” she said.
“I’ve been trying to get to grips with the two uphill curves, so I will do a lot of analysis again and then what will be, will be.”
And Rudman also showed her support for Yarnold, adding: “Lizzy’s going really well, hopefully we’ll see some more great results from her over the next few days.”
Meanwhile, another Sheffield athlete James ‘Woodsy’ Woods also sets off on his Olympic dream today, with expectation levels somewhat diluted from how they were when he arrived in Sochi.
The Crosspool-lad, who competes in the slopestyle skiing event, was one of Team GB’s big medal hopefuls going into the Games, but having picked up a hip injury after fall during practice on Friday, getting fit has been as much of a priority as finishing on the podium.
‘Woodsy’, by his own admission is ‘not 100 per cent’, however the 22-year-old is not allowing the injury to dampen his enthusiasm.
“I’m not 100 percent and certain motions do hurt but everyone is carrying something and this is a gnarly sport to do.
“It’s never going to be perfect, you just have to do the best you can to perform as well as you can,” he said.
“It happened on the course about a week ago (last Friday). It was a run of bad decisions from myself and rather than landing smoothly I took a bit of a slam.”
Now he is staying relaxed about his aspirations for a medal and setting about enjoying the occasion.
“I don’t know what it will take but it’s going to be an amazing show,” he added.
“I’m excited to be a part of this team, it’s something I will cherish forever.
“I want to get out there and give my absolute all, whether it’s battling myself or everyone else in the field.”