Olympic champion Lizzy Yarnold to miss skeleton season

Lizzy Yarnold
AP
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Lizzy Yarnold, the reigning Olympic and World skeleton champion, will sit out the 2015-16 international season.

“Coming off the back of my win in Sochi it was hard to re-motivate myself, but I had the Grand Slam [Olympic, World Championship, World Cup, European titles] in my sights and wanted so desperately to be World Champion that it saw me through [to compete in the 2014-15 season],” Yarnold said on her website. “It wasn’t until I returned home that I realised I was emotionally fatigued – more than the usual end-of-season exhaustion – so I asked my team if we could approach this year differently.

“Naturally I would have loved to defend my World title this year, and it will be hard to watch others compete without me, but I really feel like this is the right time for me to refresh, take stock and come back even more motivated for the future.”

Yarnold, 26, said she still hopes to compete at the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics, where she could become the first British athlete to win multiple Winter Olympic gold medals.

Great Britain’s other skeleton greats — 2006 Olympic silver medalist Shelley Rudman and 2008 World champion Kristan Bromley — will also miss this season.

Rudman is out on maternity leave, and Bromley retired. British 2010 Olympic champion Amy Williams previously retired, as did the U.S. 2014 Olympic silver medalist Noelle Pikus-Pace.

Austrian Janine Flock edged Yarnold for the 2014-15 World Cup season title.

This season’s skeleton World Cup starts in the last week of November.

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