Lizzy Yarnold: Olympic champion targets skeleton hat-trick

By Nick HopeBBC Olympic sports reporter
Lizzy Yarnold to defend skeleton gold in 2018

Lizzy Yarnold says she is aiming to become the first person in history to successfully defend an Olympic skeleton crown at the 2018 Winter Games.

Yarnold, 25, is also targeting a hat-trick of major titles by adding World gold to the Olympic and overall World Cup titles she holds.

Her season will begin in Lake Placid, New York in December.

"No-one has won a gold medal twice in skeleton and I thought that would be amazing to do," she told BBC Sport.

"It's nice to be able to draw from the experience of winning gold in Sochi, which was one of the greatest moments of my life, but that's not the end.

"I'm not going to rest on my laurels and will keep trying to get better."

Olympic Skeleton champions
2014Lizzy Yarnold (GB)Alexander Tretiakov (Rus)
2010Amy Williams (GB)Jon Montgomery (Can)
2006Maya Pedersen-Bieri (Swi)Duff Gibson (Can)
2002Tristan Gale (USA)Jimmy Shea (USA)

Yarnold, who has received an MBE and an honorary doctorate since her Sochi success, admits it will be "difficult" to complete the Olympic double.

However, in the short term she is focusing on the upcoming season and the World Championships in Winterberg, Germany in March.

"I came third two years ago and got a fourth place last year, so it would be an amazing to have won all three," she said.

Yarnold admits being Olympic champion will bring "a different kind of pressure" and still expects to be challenged despite the retirement of American rival Noelle Pikus-Pace, who won Olympic silver in Sochi, and the absence of British team-mate Shelley Rudman, who is pregnant.

"I am going to miss Shelley particularly," said Yarnold.

"She has so much experience, would always encourage me and be at the bottom of the track for a hug regardless of our results.

"There is huge amounts of talent in that World Cup circuit and I know it's going to be a difficult season."