Sochi 2014: Jenny Jones medal inspires Lizzy Yarnold

Britain's skeleton World Cup champion Lizzy Yarnold says watching Jenny Jones win snowboard slopestyle bronze in Sochi has spurred her on as she bids to clinch gold in her first Olympics.

Yarnold, 24, won four of the eight World Cup events to clinch the title this season, but amid growing expectation - she has been fastest in unofficial training so far in Russia ahead of Thursday's opening two runs - she insists the only pressure she feels comes from within.

"I was at the slopestyle and I was in awe. It brought tears to my eyes. It's what we train very day for," said Yarnold, a former hepathlete.

"I've always been such a determined athlete since I was about 13 years old. I went to a grammar school because it finished at 15:30 so I could train every day. I love sport, I love training hard and I'm here to do my best.

Lizzy Yarnold's skeleton hopes and fears

"There's no more pressure you can put on an athlete than the pressure you put on yourself. It is already exceptional.

"I just want to go out there and show the world what I can do. I just really enjoy competing and that's the only way that I'll keep doing well, to relax, enjoy it and embrace the pressure. It's a real honour that people can think we can do so well."

Yarnold, who says she has learned "so much" from Vancouver gold medallist Amy Williams and Sochi team-mate Shelley Rudman, has impressed at the Sanki Sliding Facility in the Caucasus Mountains, posting times half-a-second quicker than the rest of her rivals.

"We have about 40 runs before we compete on each Olympic track, so it's a really good chance to get to know all the corners in turn because there are so many different lines you can take on each corner. This track, specifically, is a lot of fun to slide," she added.

"The corners sweep from left to right to left, so as long as you let the sled go and embrace the speed, it's so much fun. But training is training. Racing is a completely different thing."

Skeleton schedule

  • Thursday 13 Feb: Women's 1st & 2nd runs
  • Friday 14 Feb: Men's 1st & 2nd runs; Women's 3rd & 4th runs
  • Saturday 15 Feb: Men's 3rd 7 4th runs

Rudman, the reigning skeleton world champion, said Jones's medal has united the British team.

"It was incredible; there's a really good vibe in the Team GB camp and I think it's really uplifted the whole team. We're really proud," said Rudman, who won silver in Turin in 2006.

She finished fifth in Vancouver, but won the world title in 2013 and says she has become stronger mentally.

But she admitted her times were down in her first few unofficial runs on the Sochi track.

"I'm just working on a few different combinations throughout the training week. I'm not quite as fast as I should be at the moment but we shall see."

Rudman's partner Kristan Bromley, who will compete in his fourth Games, is hoping to improve on a best of fifth in Turin in 2006.

The 41-year-old, known as "Dr Ice" because of his PhD in sled technology, insists age is no barrier and pointed to Canadian Duff Gibson, who won skeleton at the age of 39 in Turin in 2006.

"It's never too late. For me it's about being in the right place at the right time," said Bromley, who has had two top-six finishes on the World Cup circuit in 2014.

"I don't feel age is much of an issue - it's what form you are in."