Sochi 2014: A beginner's guide to skeleton

Skeleton

The sport in brief

In skeleton, competitors - known as sliders - hurtle head first down the 1.5km course on a sled little bigger than a tea-tray.

The fastest combined time of each slider's four runs decides the winner.

The athletes use their upper bodies to steer, twisting their head and shoulders to transfer their weight. It's exhilarating, exciting, and Great Britain are very good at it.

British prospects

The official target is one medal but that could be doubled despite the retirement of reigning Olympic champion Amy Williams.

Lizzy Yarnold won this season's World Cup series, while Shelley Rudman is the current world champion.

Skeleton bob

Global gold-getters

American Noelle Pikus-Pace looks the biggest threat to the British women's hopes, winning several World Cup events this season.

Latvia's 2010 silver medallist Martins Dukurs has once again been the World Cup's form man and will be the big favourite for gold.

What's new for Sochi 2014?

There are no significant changes.

Pub bore

Great Britain is the only nation to have won a skeleton medal on each of the five occasions it has been held at the Winter Olympics.

Previous British medallists

Total: Five (one gold, one silver, three bronze)

Most recent medal: 2010, Amy Williams (gold)

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