Team GB secures irons medal after disappointing Beijing Winter Olympics

Great Britain’s hopes of winning the best medal at the Beijing Winter Olympics have been left to the country’s ironclad team after its athletes struggled to make their mark at the Games. despite investing millions of pounds to support winter sports.

Team GB is guaranteed to win at least two medals in the men’s and women’s curling finals, and possibly win two golds for the first time at the Winter Olympics.

But it has failed to make it to the podium in any other event. Its standing is a far cry from the five medals won in Sochi in 2014 and in Pyeongchang four years later, despite its pledge to spend more than £20 million between 2019 and 2023 on nine winter sports categories.

The record contrasts with the team’s success at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo last year, where Great Britain finished fourth in the medal standings with 22 golds and 64 overall. This figure, just short of the record set in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, is seen as the result of years of investment.

In the women’s skeleton, an event in which Great Britain has won a gold medal at every Olympics since the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, Laura Deas finished 19th after winning bronze in 2018. “Obviously the speed I desperately wanted was not there,” she said after her fourth heat.

Dave Ryding, the UK’s flag bearer, became the first British athlete to win a gold medal at last month’s Alpine Ski World Cup event but finished 13th in the event. dung slalom men on Wednesday. “Today it was more of a struggle than a flow,” he told reporters at the National Alpine Ski Center in Yanqing.

In billiards, a 16th-century Scottish sport, the men’s team led by Bruce Mouat will face world champions Sweden on Saturday. The women’s team omitted by Eve Muirhead will meet Japan 24 hours later.

Gus Kenworthy, who previously represented the United States and won a silver medal in Sochi, will be in the freeski round final on Saturday.

Michael Payne, a former director of marketing and broadcast rights at the International Olympic Committee who skied for Great Britain in the 1970s, defended the performance, saying: “There are so many opportunities to play, especially Alpine freestyle.”

Team GB’s struggles contrasted with a better-than-expected performance from China, who finished fourth in the medal standings and won eight gold medals. The success of the American-born skier Eileen Guwho claimed her second gold medal on Friday, and ski star Su Yiming blasted the popularity of the Olympics in the host country.

China aims to entice 300 million people into winter sports after hosting the event, operating in a closed loop to avoid any further transmission of the coronavirus to the wider population. .

Despite his Olympic disappointment, Ryding, who has started skiing on a dry slope in Lancashire, thinks there is hope to be taken from his World Cup gold medal in Austria last month. .

“I worked so hard to win that, it felt like I was banging my head against a brick wall,” he said. “When it finally happens, I think it shows the next generation that it can be done and hopefully it makes it easier.”

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