Team GB achieved a record Winter Olympic medal haul at Pyeongchang 2018 and three of those medals were delivered by outstanding sportswomen. We assess their performances as well as those of the Curling team who narrowly missed out on bronze.
Lizzy Yarnold – A*
Britain expected Yarnold to retain her Olympic title and she delivered in style. If the Sochi 2014 skeleton champion felt the pressure, she did not show it as beat the field by 0.36 seconds – a big advantage in sliding sports.
Amazingly Yarnold, 29, was not even sure she would be able to finish the competition. ‘After the first run yesterday I was almost at the point of pulling out,’ she told The Guardian. ‘My chest infection was stopping me from breathing. I just tried to get the second run down and then fight another day today. If it wasn’t for my physio Louise Turner telling me to go down again, I’m not sure I would be here.’
Yarnold is undoubtedly glad she battled on as she became the first British athlete to successfully defend a Winter Olympic title. As teammate and skeleton bronze medallist Laura Deas told The Guardian, ‘Lizzy is such a phenomenal athlete, she is so consistent and she knows how to bring it when it matters.’
Laura Deas – A
It was a memorable Olympic debut for the 29-year-old as she won bronze and shared the podium with Yarnold – the first time two British athletes won medals in the same Winter Olympic event.
Deas’ form during the 2017-18 World Cup season – two fifth-place finishes and only once outside the top 12 – had set her up for a chance of a medal but actually winning bronze represents a superb achievement.
I can’t believe I am part of a Super Saturday,’ Deas told The Telegraph, as Britain won three Winter Olympic medals in one day for the first time. ‘I’m just extremely proud to be part of an historic day. Looking at the clock as the others came down I didn’t think I’d done enough.’
Deas’ bronze medal is the perfect redemption for her failure to qualify for Sochi 2014. Before Pyeongchang 2018, she told BBC Sport: ‘The fact that I missed out on Sochi four years ago has really given me that extra motivation to want to be there, to become an Olympian and ultimately be on the podium.’
Izzy Atkin – A
Atkin, 19, was Britain’s youngest athlete at Pyeongchang 2018 but that did not stop her becoming her country’s first Olympic skiing medallist when she secured slopestyle bronze.
The skier, who was born in Boston, Massachusetts to an English father and a Malaysian mother in 1998, saved her best run of the competition till last as she earned 84.60 on her third run.
Atkin told The Guardian: ‘Standing at the bottom after my third and final run, I knew I had skied the best I could and I was waiting for those last three or four girls to drop … My heart was racing. I just can’t believe it. I’m just stoked with how I skied and also stoked to win the bronze.’
GB Women’s Curling Team – C
After Eve Muirhead and her rink produced their best shots when it mattered to win three consecutive games (against Switzerland, Japan and defending champions Canada) to earn a deserved place in the semi-finals, it was surprising to see them crumble under pressure in the Bronze Medal Game and lose 5-3 to Japan.
There is no shame in losing to Sweden, who outplayed Great Britain to win 10-5 and then demolished South Korea 8-3 in the final to win gold. But Muirhead, Anna Sloan, Vicki Adams and Lauren Gray should have beaten Japan for a second time, especially as the Far East outfit are two places below them in the world rankings at number six.
Thankfully for Muirhead and company, they have a chance to put Pyeongchang 2018 out of their minds quickly as the World Women’s Curling Championship 2018 begins in Canada on 17 March.