LIZZY YARNOLD, the University of Gloucestershire graduate, made history by winning the first gold medal for Team GB at the Winter Olympics in Sochi.
The 25-year old, who earned a BSc in Geography and Sport and Exercise Sciences, won the high-speed Women’s Skeleton event with an outstanding time for four runs of 3:52.89, finishing ahead of athletes from USA and Russia.
Lizzy first received an Elite Scholarship in 2007 when she was a multi-discipline track and field athlete, but then got involved in her winter sport by responding to an advert for UK Sport’s Girls4Gold talent identification campaign while at the University of Gloucestershire.
She was one of 1,500 national standard sportswomen who attended the initial testing, of which 120 were selected for skeleton and subsequently whittled down to 10.
Rachel Porter, who helped Lizzy manage her sports scholarship during her time at university, recalled: “After she attended the Girls4Gold programme in 2008, Lizzy was eventually matched to skeleton in 2009. I remember her coming into my office to tell me and she was so excited.
"From the very start she was driven and focused on what she wanted to achieve. You need to be a strong and brave character to contemplate throwing yourself down a mile-long sheet of ice on a tea tray but Lizzy certainly has nerves of steel.
“She embraced every part of her journey through good and bad, and she is an ambassador for her sport and for the University of Gloucestershire. I'm extremely proud to have known her."