British skeleton bronze medallist Laura Deas says she is ready to try and do “something special” at the Beijing Winter Olympics after earning selection for a second Games.
The 33-year-old former equestrian rider finished on the podium with double Olympic champion Lizzy Yarnold in Pyeongchang and is targeting an improved performance when the event starts in China.
Deas is one of four skeleton athletes who will be heading to the Olympics, along with debutants Brogan Crowley, Matt Weston and Marcus Wyatt, who have all been competing on the top level circuit.
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Deas herself admits it has been an “up and down season” but says there are reasons for not hitting the podium, as she has to use her events as both competitive practice and a training ground
“I've been working really hard to adapt to some new equipment,” Deas told Eurosport.
We don't have a home track. So we have to use our competition time to test things and try things. We don't have the luxury of weeks and weeks on a home track to do all that behind closed doors.
“I think what's really exciting is when you go to somewhere like Beijing, for an Olympic Games, it really does level the playing field.
“We always aim to peak at the Olympic Games, rather than in the World Cups. I'm really confident that we're going to be able to bring our best on the day and produce great results.”
Deas is hoping to draw on the experience of her success in Pyeongchang to better her performance from those Games. During the World Cup season, two runs are held on one day - but at the Olympics, athletes compete in four runs over two days. She believes that could work in her favour.
“I think it's going to be really valuable for me to know that I've done that before,” she said.
“That's something that is always a huge question in people's minds, the first time they go to a major championships and Olympics is, 'I've never done this before, I've never had to step up in front of millions or billions of people and produce consistent runs like that'.
I know that I've done that. I do take a huge amount of confidence from that. But I'm not dwelling on the past. We've done a massive amount of innovating since then, but I know I can withstand the pressure of four Olympic heats.
“It really opens the playing field because four heats over two days becomes much more of a mental game, as well as just a sliding game. However you finish on day one, you've then got to know how to approach the next day.
“There's all that waiting time between one and two and three and four, on different days where you not only have to keep your head in the game, you've also got to make the right decisions on what might be completely different ice from the day before, so you've got those technical things to think of as well.”
Deas’ team-mates have all spoken about her influence in the team, and the respect is mutual, with the more experienced member of the squad describing her fellow athletes as a “brilliant group of people” who have a “huge amount of potential”, and she does not mind being the de facto team captain.
“I don't want to feel different from them because we're all teammates, but I think of the support Lizzy provided me in Pyeongchang.
“It was her second Games, my first, and there was just a lot of practical stuff that I didn't know. I was asking questions and hopefully not irritating Lizzy too much.
“I'm happy to be that person and provide that experience and support. They bring a freshness and life into the team, it keeps me motivated, inspired and on my toes.”
Deas will get her competition underway in the women’s skeleton competition on 11 February - catch every moment of the Winter Olympics live on discovery+.
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