Crowborough athlete selected for Olympics

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Matt Weston from Crowborough has been selected for next month’s Winter Olympics in Beijing.

Matt Weston (Photo Viesturs Lacis @rekords Instagram and British Bobsleigh & Skeleton Association)

Matt, became the first British man to win a skeleton World Cup title in almost 14 years this season when he shared victory in a three-way tie.

Former rugby player Weston, who is 24, attended Bennett Memorial Diocesan School in Tunbridge Wells, and trains at the University of Bath alongside other skeleton and bobsleigh athletes. Matt’s parents and brother still live in Crowborough. Another former resident, Ben Cavet, also competed in the Winter Olympics.

Britain has enjoyed outstanding medal success since the UK’s only outdoor push-start track was built on the University campus in 2002 following a successful bid for National Lottery funding.

Britain has in particular had an excellent track record in the women’s event. British women have won gold at the past three Olympics, with Sevenoak’s Lizzy Yarnold achieving back-to-back victories in 2014 and 2018.

Matt and Marcus Wyatt have been selected in the men’s event, with fellow Olympic newcomer Brogan Crowley selected for the women’s competition alongside Laura Deas, who won bronze behind Yarnold at PyeongChang.

Matt heads to his first Olympics ranked nineth ranked slider in the world, just two years after he made his World Cup debut. 

His introduction to skeleton came via the Discover Your Gold scheme following a suggestion from his weightlifting coach, Chris Dear. The biggest multi-sport talent identification campaign in British history #DiscoverYourGold, identifies talented young athletes, aged 15 to 24 years old, who have the potential to become future champions.

Commenting on his selection Matt said:

I still can’t believe it’s real! Being selected to not only go to an Olympics but be aiming for medals is a dream I have had since I can remember! 

I can’t wait to head back out to the best track I’ve raced on this season and enjoy every moment.

Matt Weston

Interview with Matt after his race win:

British Skeleton Performance Director and Team Leader, Natalie Dunman, said:

All four selected athletes have worked incredibly hard and have been on interesting journeys to reach this point in a sport they took up only a few years ago, and we hope they can inspire and encourage others at home to follow in their footsteps.

We head to Beijing with a young team in terms of sliding experience but we’re all excited to see the athletes compete on a challenging track where we hope to follow on from our success in the test event back in October.

Our season has been focused on being the best prepared nation as we go into Beijing – in what has been a particularly challenging time for all winter sports – and we’re confident our athletes can go out there and put down their best performances. Ultimately, anything can happen in the sport of skeleton at an Olympic Games, and that’s what makes it so exciting to watch.

Team GB Team Leader, Natalie Dunman

An emotional message to their son

While Matt was having his first skeleton World Cup race of the season, his parents secretly arrived to surprise him. Unfortunately spectators were not allowed at the track. So the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation decided to deliver a video message to Matt:

Follow Matt’s progress

The men’s race get underway on Thursday 10th February at 1.30am (UK time), with the event concluding on Friday. Watch on the BBC iPlayer. The competition takes place at the National Sliding Centre in the mountainous suburb of Yanqing, 45 miles north of China’s capital city. The track features a wooden roof covering its entire 2 km length.

You can follow Matt on Twitter and Instagram.

Photos: Viesturs Lacis Instagram @rekords and British Bobsleigh & Skeleton Association.

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