Winter Olympics 2018: Team GB accused of cheating over skeleton suits as US erupts in fury | World | News


The new suits were brought in for the Team GB skeleton athletes for the PyeongChang Games and it appears rival nations were unhappy with how British athletes had significantly improved in performance during pre-competition training.

British athletes Lizzy Yarnold and Laura Deas finished top of the standings in three of the six practice runs, despite neither of them placing higher than third in a single World Cup race all season.

Meanwhile in the men’s, Dom Parsons topped the standings in two of his four Olympic training runs despite only twice finishing inside the top 10 in World Cup races this season.

The suits were developed aerodynamic consultancy company TotalSim reduce the amount of wind resistance on the body as sliders reach speeds of up to 80mph.

The company has been heavily involved in developing state of the art equipment used by Team GB cyclists at the last three Olympics

However, the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) was forced to intervene on Wednesday after several countries complained the Team GB suits were giving British sliders an unfair advantage.

The IBSF inspected the race suits and dismissed complaints in a meeting with all skeleton team captains on Wednesday. 

A IBSF spokeswoman said: “The IBSF checked race suits of the British skeleton team and there were no rule violations at the presented suits.”

The women’s skeleton competition begins on Friday morning and America’s former world champion Katie Uhlaender said it was not the first time eyebrows have been raised over British equipment.

Ms Uhlaender, who finished fourth at the Sochi 2014 Olympics, said: “A lot of athletes and coaches have questioned about whether the suits are legal.

“I think this has been a question posed of Great Britain in the last two Olympics, starting in 2010 with Amy Williams and her helmet and suit.

“The rules state that everyone is supposed to have access to the same equipment as far as helmets and speed suits go and not have any aerodynamic attachments on the helmet or suit.

“I think it’s right to ask the question and make sure everyone is on a fair playing field.

“I was trying to get a suit of the same quality and I was told it was illegal. This is like Amy’s helmet in 2010 and, in my opinion, that helmet was illegal.”

The USA’s Bobsled and Skeleton CEO Darrin Steele suggested mind games might be at play.

He said: “The rules are clear that there can’t be any aerodynamic elements attached to the suit, and we don’t expect to see any on the British speedsuits in the race.

“Athletes from various nations are talking about the British suits instead of focusing on the upcoming races. 

“A large part of this sport is mental strength. It’s about who can throw down despite distractions, and we’ll see who comes out on top over these next few days.”

Jerry Rice, the fourth member of British skeleton team, said: “People can speculate as much as they like.

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