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MELKSHAM’S Laura Deas impressed on the first day of official training for the women’s skeleton at the Winter Olympics, posting the second and first fastest times during two timed training runs, beating team-mate and reigning Olympic Champion Lizzie Yarnold.
Lizzie is back in form ahead of her Olympic skeleton title defence, but it is team-mate Melksham’s Laura Deas who looks her biggest rival.
Laura was second and Lizzie Yarnold, who won gold at the Sochi 2014 Games, third in the first official training run on day three of the Winter Olympics.
But in the second run Laura was fastest, with Lizzie fourth quickest; results which bode well for the four-run competition that begins this Friday 16th February and concludes this weekend, on Saturday 17th February.
After four official training runs at the Olympic Sliding Centre, Laura clocked the quickest time with a 51.96 second run, Lizzie Yarnold’s best of 52.05 secs ranks her second, with Canadian Elisabeth Vathje the best of the rest – the pick of her runs, one hundredth of a second slower.
As this is Laura’s first Olympics – going into it ranked seventh in the world – she admits there will be no room for complacency.
Talking to Melksham News before leaving for Pyeongchang she said, “I ultimately would love to win a medal, to be honest I would be disappointed if I don’t come home with one.”
And as things stand, Laura’s medal hopes are shining brightly as the competition looms.
“I feel like I’m starting to put things together now,” said Laura. “There are still a few areas that can be pretty tricky and it’s the sort of track where one mistake can really have an impact. I’m just trying to stay on top of those small mistakes.”
The first two runs for Laura will be on BBC One on Friday 16th February with coverage starting from 11.20am until 1.10pm. The final two runs, which determine the Olympic champion, will be shown on BBC One on Saturday 17th from 11.20am.
Picture: Laura Deas during training in Pyeongchang.
Photo credit: Andy J Ryan/Team GB