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Amy Williams Bob Skeleton Slider

Amy Williams
Bob skeleton slider
Age 24

Born: Cambridge, UK
Lives: Bath, UK
Date of Birth: 29/09/82
Height: 5' 8”
Weight: 63kg
Secondary School: Hayesfield, Bath, UK
Sixth Form: Beechen Cliff, Bath, UK
Art Foundation Course: Bath College, UK
Currently on Sports Performance degree,
Bath University, UK

I live in Bath and train at Bath University Sports Training Village.
I started the sport in 2002, and in 2005 I finished 2nd in the Junior World Championships, the World Student Games, and the Europa Cup tour.
I am currently one of the top two Great Britain women sliders, and was the highest placed British athlete in the recent World Championships in St Moritz.
I am currently 17th in the World Cup rankings after five World Cup races, with three left to race, having dropped down a few places due to missing the race in Nagano, Japan, in order to prepare for the World Championships.
"Why she loves the sport and what made her take it up"
I was always very active and competitive when I was growing up, and I competed in many sports, including swimming, sprinting and cross country. I trained for 400m sprinting at Bath University, and one day I joined in with a friend who was training on the push track at the Sports Training Village. I discovered I had the necessary speed for push-starting and so I put myself in for the World Push-Start Championships in Holland. When I finished in 2nd place, the British performance director who was there invited me to join in with an Army ice camp in Lillehammer, Norway.
The first time I went down I thought it was OK, but didn’t love it straight away, it was really fast and you got a feeling that you just couldn’t describe, then the more I went down I started to love it: the adrenaline-rush was amazing. It became an addiction to get down faster than the time before, and not to hit as many walls on the way down!

How do you manage to juggle studying with your sporting life?
I started doing a degree course in Coach Education and Sports Development at the same time as I started to travel and go away on my first skeleton season. I found it a real struggle to commit fully to both at the same time, so I decided to stop the degree and concentrate all my effort on skeleton. I then decided to try again, and I am now studying for a Sports Performance degree by a part-time route. This means that I have the winter months off and I do all the work on my own in the summer months while I am at home.

When did you first become interested in Skeleton?
I remember watching Alex Coomber on television as she competed in the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics and thinking that it looked an interesting sport, if perhaps slightly crazy. But I didn’t think anything of it until that summer, when I had a go on the push track at Bath and realised how exciting it was.
You go to one of the Best Sporting Uni's in England, do they support you well throughout your training, and allow you time off when needed?

It has been great in the fact that they let me do my work in my own time throughout the summer. I have arranged with them that I don’t go to the lectures throughout the winter when I am not there, and I just get given my work in the summer. It’s hard work for me but at least one day I will have a degree! In the summer I train full-time twice a day, 6 days a week. So it is only in the evenings that I am able to think about those essays that I need to write, so it takes me weeks to write one! I am definitely a creative, active person rather then an academic one. When I left school, I did an Art Foundation course for a year as I wanted to do an art degree. However, I would have needed to move away from Bath, which I didn’t want to do because that is the UK base for skeleton. So I decided to do the sport degree instead.

Amy's Website www.skeletonamy.co.uk

How do you feel 2006/7 is going for you?

The season started off really well for me. In the first World Cup race in Calgary, I had my best result yet in finishing 10th, which gave me a little confidence boost for the next races. Having only raced on them once previously, the American tracks were not well known to me. In Salt Lake City I placed 16th, which was a disappointing result since training had been going really well, and I hoped for a podium finish. Upon the advice from my coach, I had chosen the runners that I would use for the race, but they ended up being the wrong kind for the conditions of the ice on race day. Unfortunately I found that I didn’t have the control I needed to do my steers.

The equipment that we use is very important; you do not always know what type of runner to use until you try them and find out. I was pleased with my 11th place In Lake Placid, as the Americans and Canadians are so strong on their own tracks.
Immediately after Christmas there was a World Cup race in Nagano, Japan, but I decided to miss this as it would have involved so much travelling and jet lag close to the World Championships. Instead I went to Igls in Austria to train before the next World Cup race where I was also hoping for a podium finish. In training I had been getting good top-5 results every day. But on race day and it rained and there was a lot of water on the track. I had difficulty with the conditions and finished a very disappointing 19th. Although this was my worst result so far, nonetheless it was a valuable learning experience.

Being in St Moritz was amazing. It is so beautiful that even if you did have a bad day it wouldn’t matter. But once more I was training really well. I had been on this track once the year before and came 21st in the race, so I didn’t have high expectations, but I was confident in my sliding ability. We had three days of training with two runs each day, then a two-day race with all four runs being added up to give the aggregate time. At the end of the first day I was in 6th place, then on the second day I maintained it for my third run but in the final run I just dropped back by 1/ 100th of sec into 7th place. This was my best result yet, so I was really pleased to have done it in the biggest event of the race calendar. I now have three races left this season, first in Cesana (the Turin Olympic track), then two races in Germany on different tracks. The last of these combines the European Championships with the final Word Cup race.

Visit Amy at www.bobskeleton.org.uk
or www.bobskeleton.org.uk

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