Yarnold's parents 'amazingly proud'

Burnley and Pendle Citizen: Lizzy Yarnold celebrates winning gold with her parents Judith and Clive Yarnold Lizzy Yarnold celebrates winning gold with her parents Judith and Clive Yarnold

Lizzy Yarnold's parents described themselves as "amazingly proud" after witnessing their daughter emphatically claim gold in the women's skeleton at Sanki Sliding Center.

The 25-year-old held her nerve to seal victory on Friday evening, with her closest rival, American Noelle Pikus-Pace, 0.97seconds adrift.

It sealed Britain's second successive gold medal in this event - following Amy Williams' success at Vancouver 2010 - and Yarnold's mother Judith and father Clive were understandably delighted.

"We're amazingly proud," said Judith. "I'm lost for words, completely lost for words.

"It's been the most exciting day of our lives but you didn't know until the last second. Something could have changed, anything could have changed.

"But she's so calm, cool, collected, professional. Lizzy just knew where she was going. She's amazing."

Clive added: "We're just coming to terms with our daughter having just won a gold medal and not wanting to mention the gold word before.

"Now we can actually say 'we have a daughter with a gold medal'."

"It's just getting to terms with that, the excitement."

Yarnold had not heard of skeleton six years ago and was offered a letter inviting her to a trial only after turning up to a UK Sport talent-spotting initiative looking to try out for modern pentathlon.

"We didn't know anything about it (skeleton) at all, so we all sat up and watched Amy (Williams) so that we could learn," said Judith.

"That sounds crazy but we just didn't know about the sport.

"We were really excited that there was something because Lizzy was number two or three in the country for her shot put, pole vault, javelin.

"They thought she could do better and they were right, weren't they? They got that absolutely right."

On whether they were worried about the dangers, Judith replied: "No because we knew Lizzy would be okay."

The pair are convinced that winning an Olympic gold medal will not change their daughter.

Judith said: "There's 'The Yarnold', the professional, it's her career, it's work and there's Lizzy the farmer's daughter who likes nothing better than to come home, be at home on the farm, sit in front of the fire and it's great."

Clive added: "She listens to the Archers, does her knitting and just sits down and chill. Just does normal things."

British Skeleton's head coach Andi Schmid was delighted with his charge's achievement.

"It's an incredible feeling," said the Austrian. "Four years after Amy and now this race.

"Another name now on gold, this is just a great achievement for British Skeleton, a great achievement for the individual athletes."

Asked what makes Yarnold special, Schmid replied: She's so focused she's so passionate, she has an incredible talent and what comes together is her physical and mental strengths."

Team GB chef de mission Mike Hay was quick to pass on his congratulations.

"This is a fantastic moment for Lizzy and I know every member of our Team GB delegation is thrilled for her.

"What we have seen during the past two days of competition is an athlete at the very top of her sport.

"Through hard work, determination, unwavering self-belief and an outstanding support system, Lizzy has earned a title very few athletes can claim: she is the Olympic champion."

Prime Minister David Cameron led the tributes to Yarnold on Twitter.

"Congratulations to @TheYarnold - an amazing gold for @TeamGB in the women's skeleton. #Sochi2014," he said.

Williams, who is in Sochi working for the BBC, was also quick to pass on her congratulations.

"Big tears of happiness & emotion @lizzy did it. GOLD," she said.

"Massive well done to everyone involved in the success of @TheYarnold biggest pat on the back."

Figures from Twitter showed an explosion in Yarnold's popularity on the social media site, which has seen her go from having just over 3,500 followers before the Sochi Games started to just under 25,000 today and rising.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree