Team GB’s wait for a Winter Olympics medal is finally over — and they have a 30-year-old PhD student to thank.
Britain’s Dom Parsons secured bronze in the men’s skeleton after pipping five-time world champion and two-time Olympic silver medallist Martins Dukurs to a podium place by 0.11 seconds.
Parsons, a rank outsider ahead of the Olympics, is Britain’s first men’s skeleton medal winner for over half a century — John Crammond in 1948 the last man to do so.
His victory comes after a week-long drought for Great Britain in Pyeongchang after medal hopefuls Katie Ormerod and Elise Christie both came unstuck in the snowboarding and 500m short-track speed skating.
Yet Parsons, who had only once before ever featured on a podium on the skeleton work circuit — in 2013, moved into the bronze medal position after registering a combined time of 3:22.20 after his four runs and stayed there after Dukurs’ shaky final attempt.
“That was a bit of a rollercoaster and it hasn’t really sunk in yet,” said Parsons.
“I thought I’d lost it after that fourth run. It felt like it had gone — I thought I’d binned it. But Martins Dukurs has made some more mistakes and he’s the last person I’d expect that from — he’s been dominant for so many years. It’s just those little hundredths making a difference — it’s so close at the top.”
Parsons' efforts were aided by Team GB's state-of-the-art skeleton suits which utilised cutting edge technology also worn by Britain's all-conquering cyclists at the last three summer Olympics.
Rivals had questioned the legality of the suits, but they were approved by governing body the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation.