Team GB begin the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang with a lofty medal target of five, which would surpass their record haul of four achieved in Sochi four years ago. It would be an impressive return for a country hardly blessed with traditions of success on the ice and snow.
Britain’s buildup to the Games had been smooth until the news of Katie Ormerod’s broken ankle, suffered two days before the opening ceremony. It is a major blow with the 20-year-old one of the country’s leading lights on snow, but she has plenty of talented team-mates aiming to bring home a medal in her absence.
Here are some choice picks and when to watch them (all times GMT):Katie Summerhayes, skiing slopestyle
Following the blow of losing the supremely talented snowboarder Ormerod, her fellow Yorkshire-born teammate Katie Summerhayes will lead the women’s charge for supremacy on the snow.
The 22-year-old freestyle skier told the Independent in the run up to Pyeongchang that she is focused solely on reaching the final in her event, slopestyle, in which competitors jump and flip their way through an assault course of rails and half-pipes. If she can get there, she is more than capable of bettering her seventh place finish in Sochi and bringing home a medal.
Qualification begins on Saturday 17 February at 1am, the final starts at 5am.Lizzy Yarnold, skeleton
Can Lizzy Yarnold retain her title? (Getty)
Skeleton holds a kind of cult status within British sport, with a rich history of success in the event, and Lizzie Yarnold added to that tradition when she claimed gold in Sochi. She is also Team GB’s captain in Pyeongchang, and led them out at the opening ceremony.
Yarnold took a well-earned break from hurling herself down treacherous tracks in the wake of her Sochi triumph – taking up lampshade making among other pastimes – and has struggled to rediscover her best form since returning last year, but she is famously determined and will not be giving up the title of reigning Olympic champion without a fight.
Heats begin on Friday 16 February at 11.20am, the final starts the following day at 12.30pm.James Woods, skiing slopestyle
James Woods is not short on confidence (AFP/Getty Images)
The 26-year-old could leave Pyeongchang as the face Britain’s Games if his performance lives up to the hype, of which plenty is self driven. Woodsy, as he is better known, is not short of confidence, a useful trait in such a daredevil discipline.
“I know I’m the best in the world at this, there’s no doubt about that in mine or anybody else’s mind,” he said leading up to the Games. ”So I’ll be disappointed if I don’t win, but I’m not going to let it define me.”
Qualification begins on Sunday 18 February at 1am, final starts at 5am.Elise Christie, speed skating
Elise Christie triumphed at the World Championships (AFP/Getty Images)
After her disastrous experience four years ago, Christie finally has the chance for redemption – though that is not how she sees it – and hers would surely be the sweetest gold should she triumph in Pyeongchang. She was disqualified from all three of her events in her debut Games at Sochi, including a dramatic 500m final in which she inadvertently caused a crash, and later received a torrent of social media abuse for wiping out South Korea’s Park Sueng-hi.
Christie says she is in the best physical shape of her life and insists that after winning a hat-trick of world titles in Rotterdam last year, the demons of Sochi are banished. “It’s definitely not about redemption for Sochi, I feel like that came at the worlds. To win all three events was the most incredible feeling. I don’t show many emotions, happiness-wise, but after that I was screaming with joy.”
1500m, Monday 12 February at 12.30pm/1000m, Wednesday 14 February at 10am/500m, Sunday 18 February at 12pmWomen’s team, curling
Eve Muirhead is aiming to add to her bronze in Sochi (AFP/Getty Images)
For a few days in 2002, Britain was gripped by a sudden passion for curling, with millions staying up late to watch the Rhona Martin end a 78-year wait for Olympic gold. The team achieved more success in Sochi with a men’s silver and women’s bronze and both will be searching for glory in South Korea, with the women’s team particularly confident following their European triumph in St Gallen last year.
Eve Muirhead will skip the women’s team in Pyeongchang in her third Winter Olympics and she is determined to go a step further this time around. “When I made my Olympic debut in Vancouver, it was an eye-opener,” she said. ”I realised that I wasn’t working or training hard enough. I knew to make the podium I had to be more dedicated. I stepped everything up from that moment. My whole life revolves around my sport, everything else takes a back seat. That might make me a bit boring, but I’m just doing everything I can to get that gold medal here.”
Opening match vs OAR, Wednesday 14 February at 5am. Final starts on Sunday 25 February at 12.05am.Dave Ryding, slalom skiing
Dave Ryding enjoyed a successful 2017 (Getty Images)
Could the 31-year-old pull off a shock? It is not an event the British team traditionally excel at but in Ryding there is a real possibility of pinching a medal. He claimed a silver at last year’s World Cup in Kitzbuhel, his best career result and Britain’s first World Cup skiing podium for 36 years. It is hoped that will give the Lancashire-born skier confidence in Pyeonchang in what will be a highly competitive event.
Slalom run starts Thursday 22 February at 5am.Andrew Musgrave, cross-country skiing
Andrew Musgrave lives and trains in Norway (Getty Images)
Musgrave spent five years of his childhood in Alaska – his father works in the oil industry – and he has been hooked on snow ever since. He moved to Norway to train with the best in the world four years ago and has elevated himself to be in their company. ”I learnt Norwegian pretty quickly,” he said recently, “and because I lived in a house with 10 other cross-country skiers, I picked up the swear words and the ski words first.” At 27, and with two Games behind him, he is reaching his peak and arrives in Pyeongchang as one of the leading contenders.
15km race begins Sunday 11 February at 6.15am.