Skeleton star Madelaine Smith targeting Winter Olympics after Utah display - The Solihull Observer

Skeleton star Madelaine Smith targeting Winter Olympics after Utah display

Solihull Editorial 6th Apr, 2017   0

INTERNATIONAL glory is on the horizon for a borough skeleton athlete who scooped double gold in Utah last month.

Madelaine Smith has progressed from warm of the athletics track to the cold of the ice and now has her sights set on the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Originally from Bentley Heath, Madelaine has progressed rapidly since starting skeleton racing in 2014 after successfully progressing through a talent identification programme while studying at Bath University.

The 22-year-old is now ranked the UK’s top junior skeleton athlete, third in the UK, and 32nd in the world.

She spent last summer in Bath before competing on the International Europa Cup Circuit – starting in Sigulda, Latvia.

She placed 11th, 9th, 8th and had two podium finishes during her first five races.

The positive results allowed her to progress into the Intercontinental Cup, meaning she spent a month competing in America and Canada.

Incredibly, the Bentley Heath resident scooped Gold in her first two races in Park City Utah – putting her on the right tracks for a spot at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang.

Speaking to The Observer, Madelaine said winning the Gold Medal in Park City was a massive moment for her.

She added: “It’s an incredible feeling knowing the national anthem is playing because of your result.

“Winning a race for my country is something I’ve dreamt of and it feels better than I ever imagined it would.

“Coaches always talk about consistency and the importance of following one good performance with another.

“This weekend I proved to myself and my coaches I have the ability to do this.”

Her rapid progress means rather than spending her winter in Europe, Madelaine was sent to work with a much smaller team in America.

Now learning everyday, Madelaine is receiving advice and guidance from some of the sport’s best athletes – including Team GB Gold Medalist Lizzie Yarnold.

She said: “I’ve had a good start to my first competitive season on ice and I am now focused on my goals ahead.

“I feel like I’m improving all the time, some days faster than others and that’s what it is all about at this stage of my development.

“There is still a long way to go but I am moving in the right direction and I will continue to do everything I can to try and ensure the weekends highs are frequently repeated.”

With a long-term goal of qualifying for Beijing 2022, Madelaine has also set a short-term goal of qualifying for the World Cup squad.

To achieve this, she must finish fifth or better in one race at next year’s Intercontinental Cupw.

And with the 2018 Olympics looming, Madelaine’s achievements next year could see her earn a Team GB spot.

She added: “It gives me a fantastic opportunity and chance to fight for the 2018 spot to the games.

“I receive a small amount of funding from UK Sport which I am extremely grateful for.

“However my funding barely covers the cost of my rent which puts a lot of stress on myself and my parents to fund me on this journey to Beijing.

“I’ve now reached the point in my career where I need to invest in equipment to further assist my development.

“I am aiming to purchase at least two pairs of runners which can cost between £500 and £3,000 a pair.

“Any help I can get through sponsorship this year would be hugely beneficial and will help me take the next big step in my journey.”

To keep up to date with Madelaine’s attempt to reach the Olympic Games, you can follow @MadelaineESmith or Twitter and Instagram.

Those interested in sponsoring Madelaine can contact [email protected].


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