Commentary

Team GB defend skeleton suits amid questions over legality

Updated: February 14, 2018, 7:16 AM ET
By Tom Hamilton Columnist Profile

Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile. via Getty ImagesTeam GB's skeleton hopefuls, including Lizzy Yarnold, have posted impressive practice times while wearing the new suits.

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea -- Great Britain have defended their new skeleton suits as American rival Katie Uhlaender claims athletes and coaches are questioning the legality of the kit.

Skeleton hopefuls Laura Deas, Lizzy Yarnold and Dominic Parsons have been wearing new hi-tech 'skinsuits' in Pyeongchang. All three athletes have posted impressive times in trials and head into the heats full of confidence.

ESPN understands that the IBSF has approved the race suit, which will be used in competition. But that the suits reduce wind resistance and turbulence has raised eyebrows among rival teams and competitors, with Uhlaender pointing to previous occasions when she felt the Team GB contingent had stretched the rules.

"A lot of athletes and coaches have questioned about whether the suits are legal," Uhlaender said. "I think this has been a question posed of Great Britain in the last two Olympics, starting in 2010 with Amy Williams and her helmet and suit.

"The rules state that everyone is supposed to have access to the same equipment as far as helmets and speed suits go and not have any aerodynamic attachments on the helmet or suit.

"I think it's right to ask the question and make sure everyone is on a fair playing field.

Ker Robertson/Getty ImagesAmerican Katie Uhlaender is among those to raise concerns over the legality of the suits.

"I was trying to get a suit of the same quality and I was told it was illegal. This is like Amy's helmet in 2010 and, in my opinion, that helmet was illegal."

Great Britain are understood to be confident in the legality of the suits, while the true impact of the new kit is ambiguous, given it is a sport influenced by the elements.

"We are confident that all competition equipment meets the technical and commercial requirements for every sport and discipline," a Team GB spokesperson said.

"We do not comment on specific technical aspects of equipment prior to competition."

Tom Hamilton

Senior Writer, ESPN UK
• Joined ESPN in 2011
• Covered two Olympics, a pair of Rugby World Cups and two British & Irish Lions tours
• Previously rugby editor, and became Senior Writer in 2018

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