|Date||16 – 17 February 2018|
|Location||Olympic Sliding Centre, Alpensia Resort, Mountain Cluster, Daegwallyeong|
|Participants||20 from 14 countries|
|Format||Four runs, total time determined placement. Top 20 after three runs qualified for final run.|
Length: 1,376 m
Start Altitude: 930 m
Vertical Drop: 80 m
When Lizzy Yarnold won the Olympic title in Sochi Jacqueline Lölling had only just won the World Junior Championships and was still 18 months away from making her World Cup début. However, by the time of the PyeongChang Games, the twenty-three-year-old German had established herself as the firm favourite for Olympic gold after a season where she had won four of the eight World Cup races to secure the overall title. She was also the World Champion from her victory on home ice at the Königssee track in 2017. Based on results from the 2017-18 season Lölling’s strongest rivals should have been Janine Flock from Austria and Russia’s Yelena Nikitina, both of whom had two World Cup victories to their name. A second German, Tina Hermann, and Canada’s Elisabeth Vathje were also predicted to challenge for medals as both has been regular visitors to World Cup podiums in recent races.
Nikitina had raced through the season with the possibility that she would not make PyeongChang at all. On 22 November 2017, Nikitina was disqualified from the 2014 Games, lost her Olympic bronze medal and was given a lifetime ban from Olympic competition for her part in the doping scandal that engulfed the Sochi Games only to be allowed to continue her season as she waited for her appeal to be processed.
A week before the PyeongChang Games were due to begin the Court of Arbitration for Sport overturned this decision and returned her Olympic bronze to her, citing a lack of evidence against her as an individual. CAS also removed Nikitina’s ban only for her to be refused a chance to compete as she didn’t comply with the regulations needed to perform as an “Olympic Athlete from Russia”.
The surprise of the official training runs on the Olympic track was the performance of the British pair of Yarnold and Laura Deas. They consistently appeared at the top of the timesheets despite both having had an erratic season with just as many poor performances as good. There were whispers about the legality of certain aerodynamic qualities on their new bodysuits, but the FIBT ruled them suitable for competition amongst rumours that British team management may have manufactured the controversy as a psychological distraction to other teams.
Yarnold took up from where she had left off in Sochi by posting the fastest time of the first run, but a sloppy second effort dropped her behind Flock and Lölling at the end of the first day. Flock retained the lead after the third run, but the field tightened noticeably with only a third of a second separating the top six and only a tenth between Flock, Yarnold and Lölling who were now placed in that order.
With just the final three to complete their runs Laura Deas led the competition. Lölling made her customary slow start but gained momentum as she slid down the mountain and did enough to take the lead away from Deas. Up next, Yarnold nailed her final run and broke the track record to raise the pressure on her Austrian rival. Flock didn’t appear to make any obvious mistakes but could not maintain the pace that she needed and dropped all the way to fourth at the finish.
Yarnold became the first competitor in the sport to win a second Olympic gold and the first Briton to win two Olympic titles in any sport at the Winter Olympics. The top four finishers came from different backgrounds. Lölling and Flock had been skeleton sliders since their early teens whilst Yarnold was a converted heptathlete and Deas was recruited to the British programme from the sport of equestrian three-day eventing.
In a distant twentieth and last position was Nigeria’s Simidele Adeagbo although reaching the Games was remarkable for an athlete who had competed in her first international race only twelve weeks earlier.
|Pos||Competitor||NOC||Time||Run #1||Run #2||Run #3||Run #4|
|1||Lizzy Yarnold||GBR||3:27.28||51.66 (1)||52.30 (9)||51.86 (2)||51.46 (1)||Gold|
|2||Jacqueline Lölling||GER||3:27.73||51.74 (2)||52.12 (4)||52.04 (7)||51.83 (3)||Silver|
|3||Laura Deas||GBR||3:27.90||52.00 (6)||52.03 (2)||51.96 (5)||51.91 (5)||Bronze|
|4||Janine Flock||AUT||3:27.92||51.81 (3)||52.07 (3)||51.92 (4)||52.12 (10)|
|5||Tina Hermann||GER||3:27.98||51.98 (4)||52.31 (10)||51.83 (1)||51.86 (4)|
|6||Anna Fernstädt||GER||3:28.04||51.99 (5)||52.17 (=5)||51.88 (3)||52.00 (6)|
|7||Lelde Priedulēna||LAT||3:28.49||52.14 (7)||52.17 (=5)||52.09 (9)||52.09 (=8)|
|8||Kimberley Bos||NED||3:28.59||52.33 (=8)||52.26 (7)||51.99 (6)||52.01 (7)|
|9||Elisabeth Vathje||CAN||3:28.65||52.45 (12)||52.01 (1)||52.37 (14)||51.82 (2)|
|10||Jane Channell||CAN||3:29.07||52.42 (11)||52.28 (8)||52.28 (=10)||52.09 (=8)|
|11||Marina Gilardoni||SUI||3:29.43||52.34 (10)||52.35 (12)||52.28 (=10)||52.46 (13)|
|12||Mimi Rahneva||CAN||3:29.52||52.48 (14)||52.33 (11)||52.06 (8)||52.65 (=15)|
|13||Katie Uhlaender||USA||3:29.61||52.33 (=8)||52.40 (13)||52.33 (12)||52.55 (14)|
|14||Kim Meylemans||BEL||3:29.70||52.56 (16)||52.54 (14)||52.34 (13)||52.26 (11)|
|15||Sophia Jeong||KOR||3:29.89||52.47 (13)||52.67 (15)||52.47 (15)||52.28 (12)|
|16||Jackie Narracott||AUS||3:30.73||52.53 (15)||52.76 (16)||52.62 (17)||52.82 (17)|
|17||Kendall Wesenberg||USA||3:30.92||52.77 (17)||52.96 (17)||52.54 (16)||52.65 (=15)|
|18||Marinela Mazilu||ROU||3:33.92||53.31 (18)||53.47 (19)||53.48 (18)||53.66 (19)|
|19||Takako Oguchi||JPN||3:33.96||53.82 (19)||53.41 (18)||53.62 (19)||53.11 (18)|
|20||Simidele Adeagbo||NGR||3:36.78||54.19 (20)||54.58 (20)||53.73 (20)||54.28 (20)|