THE ONE sport Team GB had pinned their hopes on eventually went downhill – but not very quickly.
Britain’s slow skeleton sliders have been criticized for going the ‘wrong way’ with new equipment on another day of Olympic misery.
The new kit unveiled for the competition in Beijing did not provide any top speed.
British Skeleton, which benefits from over £6.4m of investment in British sport, was once at the cutting edge of technology with its wetsuits, rails and sleds.
But the four sliders in action this week were so off pace it was embarrassing.
Matt Weston and Marcus Wyatt finished 15th and 16th respectively in the final round, won by German Christopher Grotheer.
In the first two women’s races – the event ends today – 2018 bronze medalist Laura Deas finished 21st and debutant Brogan Crowley finished 22nd in a field of 25 women.
John Jackson, who won a bronze medal in the four-man bobsleigh at Sochi 2014, was highly critical of the performance.
Most read in WINTER OLYMPIC GAMES
FREE BETS: GET OVER £2,000 NEW CUSTOMER OFFERS
He said: “What we’ve seen with the British kit is absolutely exhausting speed all the way.
“It doesn’t seem to be working. There is simply no speed in this sled. This has been the hallmark of their season.
“Whether it’s a weight issue—snowmobiles like to have more weight—or an adjustment issue, it’s hard to put your finger on it. They all slipped past their results.
“Whoever made the decision on the technical development side got it wrong.”
Weston, 24, from East Sussex, said: “We’re going to look at everything from start to finish, but the equipment is definitely going to be on the list. Something was wrong.”
Skeleton’s winning streak of at least one Olympic Games since 2002 is now over.
Wrexham-born Deas, 33, said: “It’s definitely not the result I wanted.
“I arrived at the starting block in a very good state of mind.
“I can’t tell you now why the speed wasn’t there, I don’t know.
“We are going to have to go back, watch everything and come back stronger. I know I’m a good slider.
MUSGRAVE IS LEFT FOR DEAD
ANDREW MUSGRAVE felt ‘dead’ as he ran out of life on the grueling cross-country ski trails.
In his second of three events, the Scotsman, 31, finished 46th in the men’s 15k classic, while British teammate Andrew Young, 29, who had Covid last month, was 51st in the 99-man field.
Norway-based Musgrave’s races in the 50km en masse start for free one week today – but he is yet to compete in his fourth Games.
Musgrave said: “It’s a tough sport at the best of times – and it wasn’t the best of times.
“I am super disappointed. It’s so far from what I expected. I felt like the first lap was going well but on the second lap, when you have to try to increase the speed, I just felt dead.
“I didn’t manage to pick up the pace at all. Instead of doing that, I started crawling!
ALL ABOUT THE BENJAMINS
COOL Benjamin Alexander will fulfill a £74,000 dream tomorrow – skiing for Jamaica at the Olympics.
The Northamptonshire-based ex-DJ will go down in history as the first to represent the island in the giant slalom.
Alexander, 38, only wore skis for the first time six years ago and had to self-finance his entire trip to Beijing.
But despite a “mountain of debt”, he believes the sacrifice is worth it.
London-born Alexander said: “Some saw it as a gimmick, but I invested a lot to get to the Olympics.
“This has been my full-time gig for two years. I skied almost 400 days and it would have been double that if it hadn’t been for the pandemic.
“Is it worth it? Ask me after! It’s the biggest Ave Maria of my life.
“Jamaica is so excited to be represented for the first time. It’s huge.”