Olympic champion Lizzy Yarnold gave pupils a fascinating insight into her life as a world class athlete when she visited Cliftonville Primary School this term.
Lizzy, 25, told how she is determined to improve on the 90mph speed she set on her skeleton board to take gold medal at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. She explained how her body is so close to the ice run during her performances that her protective headgear gets damaged where her chin is just centimetres from the ground at incredible speeds.
Using a PE bench to simulate her sled, she demonstrated her race position and gave pupils and staff the chance to try it out wearing her race helmet.
Lizzy was very keen on sport as a teenager at school in Maidstone, and was introduced to skeleton racing in 2008 through UK Sport’s Girls4Gold talent search.
She began competing in 2010 and won her first official race in the Europa Cup, in November 2010. The following seasons found her learning tracks, developing her skeleton-racing skills and achieving the athletic performance required to compete at the highest World Cup level.
She was 9th in 2011/12 season and became junior World Champion and a bronze medallist in the senior World Championships in 2012.
She told pupils: “Skeleton is a crazy and mad sport but I love it. It is like plunging down a water flume at top speeds only on ice so very close to the ground. I am a bit of an adrenalin junkie so going fast is perfect for me. I do get nervous and a little scared but I always know that I want to give it a go and I am determined to do my very best.”
She answered a variety of questions from pupils, including some from the new Cliftonville Pupil Sports Council, and gave inspirational answers, as well as showing them her gold medal and signing a sports shirt.
The visit was organised through the Inspire Kent programme which aims to maintain the legacy of the London Olympics in 2012 and engage young people in a range of activities including sports.
Lizzy was appointed and MBE for her services to the sport in the 2014 Birthday Honours.