Sochi 2014: Team GB have 'medal potential' at Winter Olympics

By Ollie WilliamsBBC Olympic sports reporter
Curlers (left-right) Claire Hamilton, Vicki Adams, Anna Sloan and Eve Muirhead with coach Rhona Howie (rear)

Great Britain's team for the Winter Olympics is the strongest for decades, according to its medal hopefuls.

GB has realistic medal prospects in freestyle skiing, snowboarding, curling, short track skating and skeleton at the Sochi Games.

"I think there's a lot more medal potential going into Sochi," GB ice dancer Nick Buckland told BBC Sport.

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Britain returned from Vancouver 2010 with one medal, but are tasked with winning at least three in Sochi.

Amy Williams was the sole British success four years ago, winning gold in the skeleton.

Funding body UK Sport expects a minimum of three medals of any colour after investing £13.45m but believes the squad to be capable of winning up to seven medals at February's Games.

"Team GB are in a great spot for Sochi," said Eve Muirhead, skip of the British women's curling team, a major medal prospect as the defending world champions.

"We've got so many medal hopefuls going in.

"I've got three young girls behind me who are great. We've put in so much work and they have the same goal as me - get that Olympic medal. It's the only medal I'm missing."

David Murdoch, skip of the world bronze medal-winning men's team, added: "It's good to be part of a team that has a real buzz.

Archive: Amy Williams wins Olympic gold in Vancouver

"You look at the results of a lot of the other athletes around - the form of skeleton and short-track - and there's good momentum here."

Lizzy Yarnold leads the women's World Cup skeleton standings, while British compatriot Shelley Rudman won the last world title, and Elise Christie was crowned European short-track champion in her favoured 1,000m event last weekend.

Buckland and ice dance partner Penny Coomes finished 20th at Vancouver 2010 but won European bronze medals in Budapest on Friday, their first podium finish in a major event.

"It's nice to go [to Sochi] as a huge team and see that we might have the chance to win a lot of medals," said Buckland.

"The bronze medal is such a confidence boost for us. It shows we can be up there with the best in the world."

Pairs skater David King said: "This winter team is amazing, we've got such strength in depth.

"We couldn't say that in Vancouver, but here we're really ready and I'm looking forward to some great performances on the back of a great London Olympics."

The Winter Olympics begin in the Russian city of Sochi on 6 February, a day ahead of the official opening ceremony.

No British team in history has returned from a Winter Olympics with more than one gold medal.

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