Andy Wood's Blog

GB Skeleton Athlete

How not to do it…

Here’s a video of Shelley Rudman crashing during training in Konigssee last week.  This is basically what happened to me in my previous 3 races on that track!


January 10, 2010 Posted by | Blog Archive | Leave a comment

Konigssee World Cup 6

I had some demons to exorcise on my trip to Konigssee in Germany.

My last 3 races on this track have resulted in me crashing quite dramatically and finishing at the back of the field.  All 3 crashes were due to 1 particular corner on this track – the kreisel.  On my previous visits here, I didn’t really have a problem with this corner in training, but the combination of a spritzed track and polished runners meant I didn’t have enough grip on the 3 race days and having not controlled the waves enough in the kreisel, I would find myself exiting the corner at a bad angle, heading towards one of the side walls and flipping over onto my back.

I didn’t want to make it 4 in a row, especially with my Dad coming out to watch and the fact that it was on Tv too!

I woke up on race day and all I could think about was whether I was going to crash or not!  My heart was racing before I realised this wasn’t good psychological preparation at all.  I decided to take race day as if it was just another training day, but with a fast push at the start.  Concentrating on the key areas on the track and going through my visualisation techniques, rather than the thinking about external expectations, my outcome concerns or the pressures of competing on World Cup.

A foot injury that I picked up over the Christmas period was still causing me problems warming up, but fortunately I experienced no pain when pushing my sled and on both my runs I was the 3rd fastest pusher in the whole field, which I was happy with.  Both my runs were fairly consistent, not perfect but competitive and I finished the race in 15th position without any crashes 🙂

With my history on this track, some sled problems hampering the training days before the race and my foot issue, I would have taken 15th at the start of the day.  This result was made better the next day when it was discovered that my sled was bent in 5 different places.  I’m sure this was the cause of some problems in training and it would have had an effect on my times in the race, but how much, we’ll never know.  It’s all been straightened up now so I’m looking forward to racing in Switzerland this Friday on a square sled!

Mens top 6:

1 Martins Dukurs 01:35.29 Latvia
2 Sandro Stielicke 01:35.63 00.34 Germany
3 Frank Rommel 01:35.84 00.55 Germany
4 Kristan Bromley 01:35.88 00.59 Great Britain
5 Michi Halilovic 01:36.02 00.73 Germany
6 Jon Montgomery 01:36.06 00.77 Canada

Womens top 6:

1 Mellisa Hollingsworth 01:38.26 Canada
2 Kerstin Szymkowiak 01:38.50 00.24 Germany
3 Shelley Rudman 01:38.73 00.47 Great Britain
4 Marion Trott 01:38.87 00.61 Germany
5 Anja Huber 01:39.08 00.82 Germany
6 Noelle Pikus-Pace 01:39.10 00.84 United States of America

January 10, 2010 Posted by | Blog Archive | 1 Comment

Konigssee World Cup

January 9, 2010 Posted by | Blog Archive | Leave a comment

Christmas Break

Having missed most of the Christmas break last season due to a GB race off for World Cup positions, it was great to be home for a longer period this time round.

I apologise for the lack of updates on the blog, it’s just that when I go back home, it’s important to be able to switch off from skeleton so that I come back to the ice fresh.  The physical training still goes ahead as we have half a season still to go, and the chance of competing at the Olympics 😉

I received the news that I was staying on the World Cup circuit for the 2nd half of the season, which means I’m competing in the last 3 races in Konigssee (Germany), St. Moritz (Switzerland) and Igls (Austria).

I’m now in Konigssee, first day of training starts tomorrow with the race on Friday 8th January.

January 3, 2010 Posted by | Blog Archive | 1 Comment

Altenberg World Cup V

A cold snap was on its way in Altenberg and I wasn’t ready for it.

I’d gone back to my Bromley sled in Winterberg but there wasn’t enough time to get all of my sets of runners converted from one sled to the other.  No-one had predicted that race day in Altenberg would bring air temperatures of -17*C, but most other athletes would have runners in their possession to cope with such cold ice.  My ‘cold’ runners for these conditions were not converted in time for this race.  If you can imagine asking Lewis Hamilton to drive with slick tyres when it’s heavily raining, you’d get the idea of how much grip I had during the race!  I did the best I could by adjusting the amount of bow in the runners but it wasn’t enough.  A few skids here and there did the damage and left me at the back of the field and without a second run in 27th position.

Men’s Top 6:

1 Michi Halilovic 01:56.39 Germany
2 Alexander Tretiakov 01:56.60 00.21 Russia
3 Frank Rommel 01:56.63 00.24 Germany
4 Jeff Pain 01:56.78 00.39 Canada
5 Martins Dukurs 01:56.90 00.51 Latvia
6 Tomass Dukurs 01:57.00 00.61 Latvia

Women’s Top 6:

1 Kerstin Szymkowiak 01:59.50 Germany
2 Marion Trott 02:00.21 00.71 Germany
3 Anja Huber 02:00.28 00.78 Germany
4 Amy Williams 02:00.35 00.85 Great Britain
5 Maya Pedersen 02:00.48 00.98 Switzerland
6 Mellisa Hollingsworth 02:00.58 01.08 Canada

January 3, 2010 Posted by | Blog Archive | Leave a comment

Altenberg Men’s World Cup 5 Time Sheet

Altenberg Men’s WC5

December 25, 2009 Posted by | Blog Archive, Race Time Sheets | 1 Comment

Altenberg WC Preparations

Next stop on the World Cup tour is Altenberg, about 5 hours drive east of Winterberg and still in Germany.  It’s cold.

The Altenberg track is probably the most technical in the world, which makes it tricky as I haven’t been here for 3 years!  The first 2 days were challenging, the timing of my steers were off and my lines down the track were not very pleasing on the eye!  It was to be expected.  I’m still having trouble with the kreisel, which is the name for a loop in the track, although I’ve managed to fix quite a lot of other problems.  The start area here is also unique as it’s long and flat, meaning we have to run a lot further than we normally do.  This, coupled with the high pressures in a lot of the corners and the concentration needed makes it a tough week on the ice!  I think the Christmas break after this race will be well deserved.

Yesterday we had a group of kids come and watch from one of the local schools.  As you can see in the picture, they were at the start at one point, cheering us all on!  We also had a BBC film crew out with us to get some footage and interview us individually for Ski Sunday.  I think it’s showing on the 27th Dec, but I’ll confirm at a later point.  Today it was the coldest day so far at -8*C but it’s due to drop further over the coming days.  It’s the last day of training tomorrow, with the mens race on Friday morning and the women’s race Friday lunchtime.

Gute Nacht!

December 16, 2009 Posted by | Blog Archive | Leave a comment

News Feed

BBC – Skeleton star Shelley Rudman finishes fourth in Germany

I get a mention too 😉

December 15, 2009 Posted by | Blog Archive | Leave a comment

News Feed

Andi Schmid Winterberg Interview

December 13, 2009 Posted by | Blog Archive | Leave a comment

10th in Winterberg

Back on Ol’ Faithful and back to a respectable finish in a race!

Having 6 runs to get used to a different sled again wasn’t ideal preparation, but I seemed to get back into the groove on my old sled pretty quickly.  I have a few people to thank for their 6 hour drive through the night to collect my sled earlier in the week.  The work didn’t stop there, I spent so much time this week working on my sled.  As I’ve put on weight since last season (good weight!),  my combined weight with my sled was over the limit.  I had to change the weight plates for lighter ones, reposition some of the smaller weights so that I was well balanced when lying on my sled and cut loads of bits of foam into funny shapes to fill out all the gaps in the sled!  I missed a couple of gym sessions in the process but maybe the rest from physical training was good.

In the race I pushed 2 PB’s and for both runs I was the 3rd fastest man in the whole field on the start.  The weather wasn’t good – snow on and off and poor visibility so the track wasn’t fast.  I was 12th after the first run and managed to gain 2 spots on the second taking me up to 10th position and my best finish on the World Cup to date.  I stood in the leader box along with my Dad for 2 runs, hoping to gain some more positions and waving a happy birthday banner for my niece Tilly who turns 1 next week!

So all the planning, the trip to Innsbruck, the night driving and the 10 hours of sled work all paid off thankfully!

Next stop Altenberg, also in Germany, for the 5th and final World Cup race before the Christmas break.

Men’s top 6:

1 Martins Dukurs 01:59.06 Latvia
2 Frank Rommel 01:59.81 00.75 Germany
3 Alexander Tretiakov 01:59.87 00.81 Russia
4 Tomass Dukurs 01:59.98 00.92 Latvia
5 Michi Halilovic 02:00.08 01.02 Germany
6 Kristan Bromley 02:00.51 01.45 Great Britain

Women’s top 6:

1 Kerstin Szymkowiak 02:04.72 Germany
2 Mellisa Hollingsworth 02:05.22 00.50 Canada
3 Svetlana Trunova 02:05.49 00.77 Russia
4 Shelley Rudman 02:05.54 00.82 Great Britain
4 Michelle Kelly 02:05.54 00.82 Canada
6 Donna Creighton 02:05.73 01.01 Great Britain
6 Marion Trott 02:05.73 01.01 Germany

December 11, 2009 Posted by | Blog Archive | 2 Comments