Talented Team GB squad are backed to deliver

Great Britain's Elise Christie is one of the favourites for gold in PyeongChang (Picture: PA)
Great Britain's Elise Christie is one of the favourites for gold in PyeongChang (Picture: PA)
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Great Britain will send its most talented squad yet to the Winter Olympics and one which can “make history once again”, according to chef de mission Mike Hay.

Team GB will have 59 athletes competing in South Korea, which will be the largest squad the British Olympic Association has sent to a Winter Games.

UK Sport has set a target of at least five medals, which would surpass the team’s best return of four medals – achieved in Chamonix in 1924 and in Sochi four years ago.

Short-track speed-skater Elise Christie is a leading medal hope and was among the first group of Team GB athletes departing from Heathrow Airport yesterday for a flight to the Games, which run from February 9 to 25.

Hay believes the squad, which will see Team GB compete in 11 of the 15 disciplines – including five snowboarders in Big Air as the event makes its Olympic debut – now have the ability to deliver podium finishes across the board.

“Not only is this the largest team we have ever taken to a Winter Olympics, but I feel it is also the most talented,” said Hay.

“Given results over the last two years at elite level, there is potential for success across a broader range of sports than ever before and I am confident that with this group of athletes we can make history once again.”

Lizzy Yarnold led the way in Sochi, winning gold in the women’s skeleton. Jenny Jones won snowboard bronze and the men’s and women’s curling teams claimed silver and bronze respectively.

The Sochi medal tally could yet rise if the men’s bobsleigh team receive a retrospective bronze as a result of ongoing hearings into Russian doping.

The Team GB line-up was completed on Thursday following the selection of 25 skiers and snowboarders, which takes the total of men to 34 and women to 25.

Three-time world champion Christie apart, the team have further medal prospects in curling, skiing, snowboarding, skeleton and bobsleigh.

Eve Muirhead, in her third Games, leads a women’s curling team that won last year’s European Championships.

The Scot will be joined in Pyeongchang by her two brothers Glen and Thomas.