Lizzy Yarnold OBE cemented her place in sporting history after winning every major title in her sport of skeleton in just 407 days. Lizzy won the World Championship gold medal at the 2015 event in Winterberg, Germany (with two track records) to add to her Grand Slam collection of the Olympic and European titles and the overall World Cup title in the 2013/2014.
Lizzy is the second athlete ever and the first British slider to hold the Grand Slam titles at the same time when she was the Olympic, World and European Champion. Lizzy won the Olympic Skeleton event at the Sochi Winter Olympics on 14th February 2014. Lizzy won having led the field in every training run leading up to the Games and over the entire 4 race event – her winning margin of 0.97 seconds was the largest ever.
Having dominated the skeleton world for several seasons, in 2015 Lizzy decided to take a season-long break from competition in order to re-focus ahead of the next Olympic campaign.
After returning to the sport in 2016 as the defending Olympic Champion, Lizzy struggled to get back into her winning groove. Following a late return to form with just a few races to go until the Winter Olympics, Lizzy was then challenged with a serious chest infection and ongoing vestibular issues whist competing in the Olympic Skeleton event.
From leading the race to then dropping to 9th place, Lizzy battled her way through the final few runs making every 100th of a second count. With all 4 runs completed (including two track records), she brought home the gold medal, winning the Olympic Skeleton event once again at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics on 17th February 2018. Lizzy was cemented in the history books once again becoming the first British Winter Olympian to retain their title.
Lizzy was runner up in 2014 and third in 2015 at the Sky & Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year awards and was nominated for the 2018 and 2014 BBC Sports Personality. Lizzy was picked to take part in skeleton after entering a talent ID programme called ‘Girls for Gold’ in 2008. As a part of the 7-month programme Lizzy was tested both physically and psychologically, leading to a successful selection onto the talent squad, which is where the hard work really began. Her rise to Olympic Champion in just 5 years shows her focus and determination, her coaches commentating that her mental toughness is indeed unique.
Lizzy was awarded an MBE for Services to Sport in June 2014 and was subsequently awarded an OBE in 2018. Lizzy, who is in her thirties, grew up in West Kingsdown in Kent and currently lives near Winchester.
A keen athlete as a child – Lizzy grew up on a farm and tried her hand at most sports including the heptathlon which she specialised in. A Geography & Sports Science graduate, Lizzy is passionate about environmental issues and encouraging healthy role models for young people, in particular, Lizzy feels very strongly that she wants to use her success on the track to help young girls feel better about their body shapes and to take up more sport and activity. Since her Olympic win Lizzy has visited over 60 schools across the country spreading that message.
Since retiring from Skeleton in October 2018, Lizzy has become a mother to two girls and now dedicates her down-time to clearing up toys after a busy day with her family, and collecting various sports equipment in from the garden!