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LAURA Deas’ name has been etched into the history books after she scooped a bronze medal during Great Britain’s ‘Super Saturday’ – the most successful day ever for Great Britain in the Winter Olympics.
Laura’s medal was one of five won by the GB team, making it our most successful ever Winter Olympics, beating the previous record of four medals won in the first ever Winter Olympics in Chamonix, France in 1924.
Laura, a skeleton athlete who lives in Melksham, joined fellow Brit and double-Olympic champion, Lizzy Yarnold, on the Olympic podium as they celebrated the first ever double GB podium in the same event in the history of the Winter Olympics.
Sitting fourth after the first two of four heats, Laura did all she could in the final two runs to cement her fourth place and watched on as the top three took to the track, knowing that one would have to make a mistake to keep her medal chances alive.
Jacqueline Loelling and reigning Olympic champion Lizzy Yarnold didn’t let the pressure get to them, both clocking faster times, pushing Laura down into the Bronze medal position, where she hoped to stay.
With the last athlete, favourite Janine Flock, left to run, the pressure built and proved to be too much for the German, faltering her way down to fourth place, sending Laura into a frenzy of excitement as she realised her medal dreams had been realised.
“I can’t believe I am part of a Super Saturday,” said Laura talking to BBC Sport. “I never thought I’d be saying that. I’m just extremely proud to be part of an historic day.
“I thought ‘this must be a mistake, someone is going to tap me on the shoulder and say sorry. I have worked so hard for this for the past nine years. My family are freezing their socks off and I am so glad they can be part of it.”
She continued, “It has been absolutely mad, but it has been great to speak to so many people and say thank you to everybody at home as well, who have been tuning in and watching. I really appreciate the support we get from back home. Thanks to everybody.
“I’m getting married in June which is very exciting, I’ve got a lot to do to work towards that and make it happen, so that’s the next thing on the horizon.”
The residents of Melksham have been following her journey to become an Olympian, offering words of support along the way.
Emma Hook said, “I can’t imagine anything worse then sliding on ice at 70mph+. Such a great achievement, well done ladies. The UK is super proud of you.”
Vivien Bartlett said, “Considering they train at Bath, no ice run. With Germany having 4 ice runs, shows true grit and determination, well done girls, big achievement.”
Mayor of Melksham, Adrienne Westbrook, also sent out her congratulations to Laura on behalf of everyone in Melksham, expressing her delight.