Hampshire Olympian first after opening skeleton heat

Lizzy Yarnold in action in PyeongChang, South Korea
Lizzy Yarnold in action in PyeongChang, South Korea
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Lizzy Yarnold launched the defence of her Winter Olympics skeleton crown in style in Pyeonchang, South Korea.

The 29-year-old, who hails from Sevenoaks but now lives in Shedfield, clocked a time of 51.66sec in the first of four heats.

That effort left her top of the timesheets going into her second run later today, with the crown going to the athlete with the lowest cumulative time after four rounds.

Yarnold, who has a 0.08sec advantage over German Jacqueline Loelling, was selected as flag bearer for the Games following her gold medal in Sochi four years ago.

The former University of Gloucestershire student claimed world and European titles in 2015 before taking a break from the sport.

Following her move to the south coast, Yarnold returned to action and is the first woman to attempt to defend an Olympic gold in the skeleton.

Team GB’s other contender in the women’s skeleton competition, Laura Deas, crossed the line in 52.0sec.
She will begin the second of the four heats in sixth position. The medals will be decided on Saturday lunchtime when the third and fourth rounds take place.