The British Forces Athletes Who'll Be Competing In The Winter Olympics

With the 2018 Winter Olympics only a few days away, Forces Network has taken a look at the British forces athletes who'll be on show...

With the 2018 Winter Olympics only a few days away, Forces Network has taken a look at the British forces athletes who'll be on show.

Almost 3,000 athletes will be striving for medal glory at Pyeongchang in South Korea, with the opening ceremony taking place on Friday and competition running until February 25.

But who from the military will be among them? Just take a look below...

Amanda Lightfoot – GB Biathlon



30-year-old British Army Sergeant Amanda Lightfoot has been selected as Great Britain's sole biathlete for the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

The Adjutant General's Corps soldier started skiing through the military in 2006 and began competing internationally two years later.

She underwent a knee operation in April 2013 before making her Olympic Winter Games debut at Sochi 2014.

Finishing 75th and 71st in the 7.5km sprint and 15km individual, Lightfoot has seen improvements since that display, with her personal best coming at the 2017 World Championships in Hochfilzen, when she finished 32nd in the 15km individual event.

South Shields' Lightfoot is only the second female British biathlete to compete at a Winter Games and has done so while maintaining her Army career. 

Competition Dates: Feb 10 - 7.5k Sprint, Feb 12 - 10k Pursuit, Feb 14 - 15k Individual, Feb 17 - 12.5k Mass Start.

Lamin Deen - GB Bobsleigh (4-Man)



Grenadier Guards Sergeant Lamin Deen's bobsleigh career began when he was spotted competing in the 200m sprint finals at an Army inter-unit competition in Aldershot in 2007, although he initially only started the sport as a hobby.

The 36-year-old Army man has represented the Army in boxing and basketball, as well as athletics and bobsleigh.

Having switched from brakeman to driver after missing out on selection for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Lamin made his Olympic bow at Sochi four years later, finishing 19th in his favoured four-man event and 23rd in the two-man competition in Russia.

He won two of his first three races on the North America's Cup circuit in 2013/14, triumphing in Park City and Calgary, and went on to guide GB1 to fifth place at the 2015 World Championships in Winterberg alongside Ben Simons, Bruce Tasker and Andy Matthews.

He narrowly missed out on World Cup bronze with a fourth-place finish in Lake Placid in January 2016 and he and his crew of Tasker, Simons and Joel Fearon were on course for a World Championship medal before a late crash in Igls the following month.

Lamin finished 21st in the 4-man event at his fifth World Championships in Konigssee in 2017 and was on the World Cup podium in December 2016 after a sixth-place finish in Lake Placid.

His team-mates are Joel Fearon, Andrew Matthews and Ben Simons.

Competition Dates: Feb 24 - Heats 1 & 2, Feb 25 - Heats 3 & 4

Nick Gleeson – GB Bobsleigh (4-Man)



Joining Lamin Deen at the Games will be Army Private Nick Gleeson, who's taking part in Olympic competition for the first time.

His sled will be driven by Brad Hall, with fellow brakemen Greg Cackett and Toby Olubi taking up the other two spots.

Relatively new to bobsleigh, the 3rd Battalion, Parachute Regiment (3 PARA) man was brought into the sport through the military.

Making his World Cup debut in the 2017/18 season, he's known as the 'baby' of the team at just 21.

The Epsom-born athlete wants to be challenging for medals in PyeongChang, after such an impressive year for the team, and has his sights set on becoming a pilot by 2022. As Nick reflects:

"In bobsleigh, if you get given an opportunity, you've got to take it, or that's it, it's gone."

He added: "Last season, I wasn't focussed on these Games at all. I never thought I'd get there. But times change.

"The Army has given me a work ethic of, 'If you’re going to do it, do it properly', so that has stuck with me in bobsleigh. But I never thought I'd be able to call myself an Olympian. I didn't think I'd be competing at the biggest competition in the world."

Competition Dates: Feb 24 - Heats 1 & 2, Feb 25 - Heats 3 & 4

Rhys Thornbury – NZ Skeleton



RAF skeleton racer Rhys Thornbury was selected for New Zealand off the back of steady results on the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation World Cup circuit.

The 28-year-old, who has dual UK-New Zealand citizenship, recorded five top-10 finishes in 2017 and 11th place at last year's World Championships.

He first tried skeleton in Austria in 2011, making it onto the World Cup circuit in 2015.

The RAF has an elite athlete scheme which allows serving personnel to focus on sport at an elite level, and that has allowed Thornbury to train full time for the last three years.

He's got a fan in New Zealand Bobsleigh and Skeleton Association president Ross Dominikovich, who says Thornbury's character has helped him to the top level of the sport.

Competition Dates: Feb 15 - Heats 1 & 2, Feb 16 – Heats 3 & 4

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