Winter Olympics 2018: Lizzy Yarnold named Team GB flagbearer

By Nick HopeBBC Sport at the Winter Olympics
Flagbearer Yarnold hoping for best Winters for Team GB
XXIII Olympic Winter Games
Venue: Pyeongchang, South Korea Dates: 9-25 February
Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV, Red Button, Connected TVs, BBC Sport website and mobile app. Full coverage times

Defending skeleton champion Lizzy Yarnold will carry the Great Britain flag at the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

The 29-year-old was selected by her GB team-mates for the honour when the 23rd Games open in South Korea on Friday.

She said: "It's really exciting and the opening ceremony is the start of something that I know from Sochi will be the biggest two weeks of my life."

Yarnold is aiming to become the first Briton to defend a Winter Olympic title when she competes at Alpensia Sliding Centre on 16 and 17 February.

She carried the flag at the closing ceremony in Sochi, Russia, four years ago after winning gold.

Organisers are concerned about the extreme temperatures in South Korea and especially for those attending the opening ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, which has no roof.

They are installing wind shields and huge heaters and spectators will be given, blankets, heat pads, a warm seat cushion and rain coats to protect them from the elements.

Temperatures are expected dip to -10C with wind chill during the ceremony, which starts at 20:00 local time (11:00 GMT).

Yarnold told BBC Sport: "I wanted to be part of the team and the opening ceremony regardless of the weather.

"I was asked to keep it confidential and it was really difficult not to tell people. Hopefully they're happy.

"For our parents and grandparents watching at home that is the moment. When they announce 'Great Britain' and your skin just tingles and the emotions begin.

"I hope I can hold the flag right out in front of me like Sir Steve Redgrave did with a straight arm all the way around - we'll see."

She had her first training runs on the track on Wednesday - and was pleased with her times, which placed her fifth, just behind team-mate Laura Deas.

Yarnold said: "The Alpensia track is quite different to when we have been here before. The ice is absolutely perfect - super hard."

Yarnold finished on the podium once during the World Cup season - a bronze in the first race in Lake Placid in the United States.

"It's been an up and down World Cup season," she said. "It's a lesson that I needed to respect the sport and appreciate anything can happen.

"But I do know what I'm doing, I've learned and I'm in a good place."

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