GB Luge seek to replicate GB skeleton success at Olympics

By Nick HopeBBC Olympic sports reporter
AJ Rosen
AJ Rosen was the last British athlete to compete in luge at the Olympics, representing Team GB at both the 2006 Turin and 2010 Vancouver Games

The British Luge team believe they can be "as big" as the successful skeleton programme, but only if they find £700,000 of private investment.

No GB luge athletes qualified for last year's Sochi Winter Olympics and therefore receive no UK Sport funding.

By contrast skeleton - who won gold medals in 2010 and 2014 - will receive more than £6.5m leading into the 2018 PyeongChang Games in South Korea.

"The potential is there, it's just how we unlock it," said Tor Gullan.

The British Luge development performance director continued; "This year is mainly for training and development, but we want to step it up with more competitions next year ahead of Olympic qualification, but it isn't cheap."

Lizzy Yarnold backs British luge team:
"We absolutely want to see a strong programme for GB Luge," said Olympic skeleton champion Lizzy Yarnold."I think they can be successful because it's a very strong sport but they've got a lot of work ahead of them as we did 10 years ago."

USA-based luge athlete AJ Rosen largely self-funded his qualification programme for the 2006 and 2010 Winter Olympics and despite missing out on Sochi is planning to challenge for a place in the 2018 squad.

Innovation key to GB luge's Olympic bid

The UK operation, based out of the University of Bath, consists of three athletes introduced to the sport through the army - Danielle Scott, Harry Foulkes and Ray Thompson.

All have served in Afghanistan and are being funded by the army to pursue their athletic careers.

"It's great to have that support, but the sport needs more investment to grow and be as big as skeleton and bobsleigh which I believe it can," Foulkes told BBC Sport.

"There's not only equipment and travel to consider but we also want to develop a youth programme as well for the future."

UK Sport Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic investments:
Sport2014-2018 funding
Figure skating£1,699,940
Short-track speed skating£4,350,600
Ski and snowboard£4,890,326

Despite the huge gap in fundingexternal-link between the sliding sports, Scott has been inspired by working out alongside Olympic champion Lizzy Yarnold in Bath.

"We're training in the same facilities and with some of the same coaches and it's great to know it [winning Olympic gold], is possible," she told BBC Sport.

Team-mate Thompson continued; "To be an Olympian in 2018 would be amazing and I'll do everything I can to make it happen."

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