Yarnold shrugs off dizziness in Olympic skeleton defence

Team GB flagbearer Lizzy Yarnold, who lives in Shedfield
Team GB flagbearer Lizzy Yarnold, who lives in Shedfield
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Lizzy Yarnold surged into contention for back-to-back Olympic skeleton titles in Pyeongchang on Friday.

The Sochi 2014 gold medallist, who lives in Shedfield, placed third at the halfway stage of the competition.

She is 0.10sec behind leader Jacqueline Loelling, of Germany.

Fellow Team GB athlete Laura Deas is a further 0.07sec adrift in fourth.

Yarnold led by 0.08 after a track record on the first run.

But afterwards she felt ‘dizzy’ and later attributed the funny turn to having a head cold and the chill in the South Korea air.

Yarnold, who originally hails from Sevenoaks in Kent, said: ‘With the cold and the dust I’ve had a sore throat for about a week now and a bit of build up in my sinuses.

‘I forgot to breathe going down the run. So for the second run I just really relaxed into the race and made sure I was breathing properly.

‘It’s really cold out here. It’s a winter, of course, but you have to remember you are travelling at 80mph down a really fast track.

‘Taking my time and having a breather at the end of the run is important.’

Loelling has an advantage of 0.02 from Austria’s Janine Flock, while Deas is 0.13 ahead of fifth-placed Anna Fernstaedt.

Yarnold, who was ninth fastest on the second run, is bidding to become the first Briton to successfully defend a Winter Games title when the two concluding runs take place on Saturday.

She added: ‘It’s a great position being in third, especially with Laura so close.

‘We’ll chat about what we can do to make sure we’re both on the podium.’

A dream of three skeleton medals is on after Dom Parsons won a surprise bronze in the men’s event.