Britain are given the go-ahead to use new skinsuits
GREAT Britain’s skinsuits have been given official approval on the eve of the Winter Olympics skeleton competition after their legality was questioned by rivals.
Sochi 2014 gold medallist Lizzy Yarnold and team-mate Laura Deas, from Wrexham, demonstrated their medal potential in training at the Olympic Sliding Centre in Pyeongchang as underwhelming World Cup seasons were forgotten.
Rival competitors have raised objections to Britain’s innovative equipment, though, in particular the skinsuit technology which has been previously used by British Cycling.
However, a statement from the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation said: “The IBSF currently checked race suits of the British skeleton team. There were no rule violations at the presented suits.”
The issue was raised at the IBSF captains’ meeting evening, prior to the two-day men’s competition beginning today. The women’s event starts a day later and concludes on Saturday.
A former world champion suggested Britain flout the rules at Olympics, but Team GB insisted it abided by all regulations.
United States’ Katie Uhlaender, the 2012 world champion, said: “A lot of athletes and coaches have questioned about whether the suit was legal.
“I think this has been a question posed of Great Britain in the last two Olympics, starting in 2010 with Amy Williams and her helmet and suit.”
A Team GB spokesperson said: “We are confident that all competition equipment meets the technical and commercial requirements for every sport and discipline. We do not comment on specific technical aspects of equipment prior to competition.”
Uhlaender referred to the helmet Williams used in Vancouver, which was subject of an unsuccessful protest after the competition had concluded.
The American, who could be promoted to Sochi 2014 bronze behind Yarnold after the disqualification of Russia’s Elena Nikitina, admitted questioning rivals’ equipment was a necessary part of preparations.
Yarnold and Deas are finding form at the right time. From six runs and three days of training, Deas has finished first twice and Yarnold once.
Britain have won skeleton medals at the last four Olympics and Deas is convinced she can add to the honours board.
“We’ve done it before and it just adds to the belief that we can do it again,” she said.
> Wrexham’s Laura Deas in action during the women’s skeleton practice session wearing the controversial GB skinsuit