BBC Cymru Wales Sports Personality of the Year 2018: Laura Deas profile

Laura Deas (right) celebrates Olympic bronze with Lizzy Yarnold who took the gold for GB at Pyeongchang 2018
Laura Deas (right) celebrates Olympic bronze with Lizzy Yarnold who took the gold for GB at Pyeongchang 2018
BBC Cymru Wales Sports Personality of the Year award 2018
Venue: Celtic Manor Resort, Newport Date and time: Tuesday, 4 December at 21:00 GMT
Coverage: Results and updates on BBC Wales Today, the BBC Sport website, BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio Cymru

Skeleton athlete Laura Deas made history at Pyeongchang 2018 as she became the first Welsh medallist at a Winter Olympics.

The 30-year-old slider from Wrexham was in fifth place after the first of her four runs in South Korea but bounced back in spectacular style on her Olympic debut.

A storming second run of 52.03 put Deas into the medal mix and staying cool in the next two runs she held on to a podium place by 0.02 of a second, winning bronze in a combined time of 3:27.90.

Great Britain team-mate Lizzy Yarnold defended her title from Sochi 2014 by taking gold in 3:27.28, creating another piece of history as the two friends became the first British Winter Olympians to share a medal podium in an individual event.

The result confirmed Britain's Winter Olympic dominance in skeleton that stretches back to the gold won by Amy Williams at Vancouver 2010.

Deas rounded off a special year by marrying her long-term boyfriend Richard Green - who she was introduced to by Yarnold six years previously - in June.

Laura Deas begins her Winter Olympics bronze-medal winning run at Pyeongchang 2018
Laura Deas begins her Winter Olympics bronze-medal winning run at Pyeongchang 2018

Raised in the Flintshire village of Llanfynydd, Deas attended Howell's School in Denbigh where she excelled at sports including netball, cross country and hockey - representing North Wales.

Outside of school she was a keen horse rider and it seemed Deas' sporting career would be amongst the equestrian ranks when in 2006 she began competing internationally in eventing and tetrathlon, in which she was also Wales captain.

But her switch to winter sports was sparked by her brother, Fred, who told her about the UK Sport talent-discovery programme Girls4Gold that eventually saw her switch to skeleton in 2009.

Deas' decision to swap horses for sleds proved to be a good one at the 2011 Junior World Championships in Park City, Utah, in the USA.

In her first major international competition she finished fourth, in an event in which future double Olympic champion Yarnold won silver.

Deas made her senior World Cup skeleton debut in the 2014-15 season and showed she had the necessary talent by finishing second in Calgary in only her second World Cup outing, backing that up with third in St Moritz later in the calendar.

At the 2015 World Championships in Winterberg, Germany, Yarnold took the title while Deas finished seventh, proving she belonged among the world's skeleton elite.

The following season came the breakthrough Deas had been chasing, as she claimed a first World Cup win at the 2015-16 opener in Altenberg, Germany, in November.

The Welsh athlete finished ahead of Tina Hermann, who would take the overall title that season, and her German compatriot Jacqueline Loelling who had won silver at the previous World Championships.

Deas added a World Cup bronze in Lake Placid in the following January and then finished 11th at the 2016 World Championships in Igls, Austria.

The 2016-17 season was a frustrating one for Deas, who finished inside the top 10 in all but one of the eight World Cup rounds but was unable to crack the podium.

Her best results were three sixth-placed finishes in Whistler, Altenberg and St Moritz, and Deas was 10th at the 2017 World Championships in Königssee, Germany.

Deas was selected for Team GB's Winter Olympics squad for the first time for South Korea and her build-up during the World Cup series - with two fifth places - suggested she would be an outside medal threat.

But then came her famous moment at Pyeongchang 2018, with Deas' great consistency carrying her through the final two nerve-wracking runs to keep hold of a medal as others faltered under the pressure.

Since her Olympic success, Deas has started the new season well with silver at the Intercontinental Cup in Igls in November.

The 2018-19 World Cup commences in early December in Sigulda, Latvia, with the season building towards the 2019 World Championships in Whistler, Canada, in March, where Deas will be bidding to add another major medal to her Olympic bronze.

Voting for BBC Cymru Wales Sports Personality of the Year 2018 opened at 08:00 GMT on Monday, 26 November and closed at 18:00 GMT on Sunday, 2 December.

Full voting terms and conditions are available on the BBC website and will also be carried on radio and television.

The winner will be unveiled on Tuesday, 4 December.

This event is not connected with the UK Sports Personality of the Year and is for the Wales award only.

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