Voting is now open for the SJA2018 British Sports Awards sponsored by The National Lottery. As far as JANINE SELF is concerned, there is only one contender for sportswoman and that’s Lizzy Yarnold.
Just breathing in and out was painful. The icy air sliced through countless layers of extreme clothing, mobile phones needed to be kept in a deep pocket with hand warmers or they stopped working. Ditto tape recorders.
It was without doubt the coldest gig of my sports journalism career, temperatures of -20C before the wind chill factor kicked in and made it feel like -30C.
It is difficult to imagine what it would have been like to have been struggling with a chest infection while shouldering the expectations of a nation.
Well, Lizzy Yarnold delivered at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games, pretty much as the skeleton racer has always done when it comes to lying on a tea tray and hurtling down a 90mph frozen slide.
In the blink of an eye, she became the first Briton to defend successfully a winter Olympic title. The 29-year-old was behind Janine Flock of Austria going into the final run and clawed it back to win by 0.45 seconds. A word of praise here for fellow Brit Laura Deas, who took bronze.
Yarnold announced her retirement on October 16, her legacy assured with just one glance at the roll of honour.
Two Olympic gold medals, world champion, European champion, an MBE after Sochi 2014. The win in South Korea makes her the most decorated British winter Olympian in history.
After her gold medal run in February, Yarnold said: “I was dizzy, I couldn’t breathe. I’ve been ill for a week. Now I’m going to sleep for weeks. The emotions are gratitude to the whole team to get here, and relief, and exhaustion. And lots of crying.”
Yarnold achieved the lot despite a recurring knee problem and a condition which affected her inner ear and caused dizzy spells.
What a morning! It’s a privilege to speak to so many people about skeleton that I love, and now retirement!
It doesn’t matter what you do, Chase Your Dreams ☄ pic.twitter.com/uaIWBYURyT
— Lizzy Yarnold (@LizYarnold) October 16, 2018
In the summer she had an operation on a long-standing back problem. Now she opens a new chapter on her life and is an outstanding candidate to be our sportswoman of the year.
The case for Duncan Scott