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TEAM GB will take a squad of 50 athletes to the Winter Olympics in Beijing next month after speed-skater Ellia Smeding was confirmed as the final member of the team today.
The team, featuring three returning medallists in Izzy Atkin, Laura Deas and Eve Muirhead, is Britain’s smallest for a Winter Games since 2010 in Vancouver, when Amy Williams won the only medal in women’s skeleton.
The 23-year-old Smeding, whose boyfriend Cornelius Kersten is also in the team, is the first British long-track speed-skater to qualify for a Games since Kim Ferran and Mandy Horsepool in 1980.
Smeding said: “Being part of Team GB in Beijing is an absolute dream come true. This season has gone really well so far and I’m hoping to put my best races down at the Games.
“I’m so excited to share this experience with Cornelius and to have two long track speed skaters at the Olympic Winter Games will hopefully inspire a future generation of skaters.”
Hopes are high that the team will at least emulate the five-medal haul from each of the previous two Winter Olympics, especially in light of Dave Ryding’s historic win in this weekend’s World Cup slalom in Kitzbuhel.
Mixed curling duo Bruce Mouat and Jennifer Dodds, and snowboard-cross racer Charlotte Bankes, go into the Games as defending world champions, while hopes are high for the likes of Katie Ormerod and Kirsty Muir.
Team GB Chef de Mission Georgina Harland said: “We are delighted to welcome the 50 athletes who will make up the team at Beijing 2022 and feel these athletes have the opportunity to not only challenge established winter nations but compete with the success we enjoyed at both Sochi and Pyeongchang.
“This is an exciting new chapter for British winter sport with a number of new names for the British public to enjoy and get behind and, with athletes who have experienced four Olympic Winter Games, they will undoubtedly be a great support to the emerging talent.”
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