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Steele looking to relax for second shot at Skeleton

13 February 2014

SKELETON: Relaxing while hurtling down the track at 130 km/h is the key to consistency for Australian Michelle Steele, with the completion of Run 1 and 2 in the women’s Skeleton. 

At the halfway point of event, Steele is 12th with teammate Lucy Chaffer in 17th place.

Steele posted a time of 1 minute, 56.89 seconds, with Chaffer clocking 1:59.41.  

Steele sits 1.94 seconds off gold medal favourite, Britain’s Elizabeth Yarnold, who broke the track record in her first run with a time of 58.43 seconds. After posting two runs separated by the smallest fraction - 0.01 seconds, Steele was happy. 

“It was tough coming in from training, not knowing where we were sitting and people jumping around all the time so today was good to get two consistent runs,” she said.

Heading into Run 3 and 4 on Day 7, Steele is focused on being relaxed.  

“I’ll go over the video, see where I can make some improvements and focus on relaxation. That’s the big thing on this track, riding slow. Staying relaxed within an Olympic Games can be quite hard,” she said. 

“I’m so proud to represent Australia and to be here. It’s really exciting. I think the competition, you know you always want to go faster but you’ve got to come back tomorrow and work on what I can.”

The 27-year-old said there was strong depth in the event. 

“It’s really tough. I think at the moment the field’s really tight and there’s a lot of good competition. It’s 20 deep, there’s no one here that isn’t a strong slider,” Steele said. 

Teammate Chaffer recovered from a slow first run with a couple of bumps on the side walls, to bounce back with a competitive second run.

The 30-year-old said after the horror first run, putting her in last position, she was pleased with Run 2. 

“I couldn’t really go any further down than 20th, so it was pretty easy just to refocus. I knew what I had to do. I know that I can do it. I had three good runs in training yesterday,” she said. 

“It was really quick as well, the break was really short too so we didn’t get a lot of time to process it, it was just like go again. 

“I saw the time and it was a competitive time for the first run so I think I will be competitive.”

She said the second run has given her confidence heading into the second half of competition. 

“It was a lot better. So if I can take that it in tomorrow it will be good,” Chaffer said. 

On Friday Chaffer will be aiming to climb a few more spots on the leaderboard. “I just jumped a couple of spots. I’d have to have four blinding runs to get really up there but if I can have two more like that then maybe I can climb a couple more spots, but I was happy with that one,” she said.

“I’ll keep going with what I did in the second run because that worked well and then we’ll see.”

With two runs to go, American Noelle Pikus-Pace sits in silver position, off the pace by 0.44 seconds and Russian Elena Nikitina in third, 0.55 seconds behind the leader. 

The men’s Skeleton competition will also be on Day 7 with Run 1 and 2, featuring 31-year-old Australian John Farrow on the comeback from injury.

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