sport

High hopes for Hay ahead of Sochi

Great Britain's Winter Olympic team is looking stronger than ever ahead of next year's Sochi Games, according to Chef de Mission Mike Hay.

Hay's comments come as respected sports data company Infostrada predict a record five medals for the British team in their Virtual Medals Table, a statistical model based on results, times and quality of competition.

According to the statistics, Team GB are on course to beat their previous best medal haul at a Winter Games, which was four medals at the inaugural Games in Chamonix in 1924, and will place 17th on the final Sochi medal table.

The Virtual Medals Table predicts a gold medal for 2006 skeleton silver medallist Shelley Rudman, silvers for the women's curling team and slopestyle star James Woods, and bronze for the men's curlers and short-track champion Elise Christie.

Hay said: "Based on the results we have seen since Vancouver, including the most recent winter season, we've got more strength in depth, across more disciplines, than we've ever had before.

"That bodes well for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.

"The World Championships last season saw our sports secure five medals across four sports. But we are careful about pinning medals on athletes.

"The focus now has to be put on keeping the 'podium potential' fit and healthy as just losing one or two of those puts a serious dent in our medal opportunities.

"What I can say is that we're in a good position and that is something we are very excited about."

There are more realistic hopes that Great Britain could come away with three medals for the first time since Garmisch in 1936. Britain has claimed two medals at the same Winter Games only three times since.