Lizzy Yarnold column: Golden helmets and baking pretzels

Lizzy Yarnold graphic

The target was always to "achieve". Now, after adding the World Championship title to my collection and completing the career grand slam, it's to "defend".

It'll mean a change in thinking for me. It used to be all about being the first to do something. Now the focus is different.

I'm the one everyone wants to beat. I've got to be ready for that challenge by training harder, preparing better and racing faster.

A moving target

A number of sliders have either retired or are having a year off, so there are a lot of new faces on the World Cup circuit.

These new opponents are super, super ambitious, very relentless and determined to kick me off the podium. I'd be the same way.

World Championship success follows Olympic, World Cup and European gold
World Championship success follows Olympic, World Cup and European gold

They are training very hard and racing very fast, so I need to train harder and race faster. That means more homework and more research.

I'll make sure I know the tracks better, so I can take the corners quicker.

Attitude is key. I've always been the first in the gym and the last to leave. It's that sort of approach I need to have.

One area I need to work on is the push start. I'm about one tenth or two tenths behind the fastest, so I've got a lot to improve on.

Out of the loop

When I decided to paint my crash helmet gold ahead of the World Championships, I wasn't looking to make a statement.

Lizzy Yarnold

I just thought it was a bit of fun.

Some sliders choose the colours of their national flag and add 'go faster' stripes. I thought I'd go for gold.

I know it caused a bit of reaction when I wore it for the first time, but the biggest one was from my family.

They didn't know I'd done it, so were surprised when they saw me competing on the telly. They couldn't believe I hadn't told them.

Laying it on thick

I got the helmet painted at a shop in Bristol. They've done work for me before, so I knew it was in safe hands.

It was hard choosing the right gold. I knew I didn't want a greeny-gold, but I wasn't completely sure how the helmet would look when it was done.

"Motivation comes from a million places and changes all the time. I'm motivated to win but sometimes the motivation is just to go to the gym and complete a training session."
"Motivation comes from a million places and changes all the time. I'm motivated to win but sometimes the motivation is just to go to the gym and complete a training session."

I settled for Honda 760, I think it was called. When I went to pick up it up, I thought: 'Wow, that is gold.'

It looked good but I had trouble getting the visor back on as the gold paint was slightly too thick.

I had to do a bit of mechanical work to get the visor fitting perfectly again!

Turned into a bookend

I'll get a new helmet for next season. You have to for safety reasons.

I've not had a crash in the one I've got, but, when you are travelling down an icy track at 90mph, it suffers a number of knocks. It's inevitable.

Anja Huber has been sliding for 18 years. She was my skeleton hero, but she retired a few days ago.
Anja Huber has been sliding for 18 years. She was my skeleton hero, but she retired a few days ago

I don't have a helmet custom-made but decide what colour to paint it and fit the visor so it sits well on the helmet. I'm not sure what the new one will end up looking like. As for the old one, I'll make it into a bookend.

The perfect pretzel

I'd like to be able to bake a really good pretzel. I often eat them when I'm in Europe competing, usually with soup.

The technique for shaping pretzels is tricky, but once you've got the hang of it you'll return to this recipe time and again.
The technique for shaping pretzels is tricky, but once you've got the hang of it you'll return to this recipe time and again. Read more from the BBC's guide to making pretzels at www.bbc.co.uk/food

I'm good at breaking bread, all different types, so I hope it won't be complicated to do.

I'll seek guidance off YouTube but I'll largely be self-taught.

No more dizziness

Travelling down an icy track at 90mph, with 5Gs of pressure on your body and the occasional bash into a wall, can take its toll.

I haven't suffered at all since the incident in Lake Placid at the end of last year, so those problems are all in the past, I hope.

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