Winter Olympics 2018: Controversial Team GB skeleton suit approved despite questions from rivals surprised by British sliders' improvements

Frank Dalleres
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Team GB's sliders have set the pace in training despite modest recent results (Source: Getty)

Team GB’s bid to win gold in the skeleton at a third Winter Olympics is due to begin on Thursday amid a cloud of suspicion, accusation and innuendo in Pyeongchang.

Rivals have questioned the legality of the team’s cutting-edge suits after even unfancied British riders posted field-leading times during their practice runs this week.

Dom Parsons, who placed 12th when the most recent World Cup series concluded last month, has topped the men’s time-sheets, while Laura Deas and defending champion Lizzy Yarnold, who were seventh and ninth at the World Cup, have done likewise among the women.

Read more: Brit Christie's medal hopes on ice after more Olympic anguish

American former world champion Katie Uhlaender said the suits appeared “questionably illegal”.

She added: “I’d rather ask the question now than during the race, and make sure everyone is on a fair playing field. I am curious to know if they’re going to look into it.”

Uhlaender’s comments came after several teams queried the legitimacy of Team GB’s suits with competition organisers.

Skeleton Training - Winter Olympics Day 4
Dom Parsons finished 12th at last month's World Cup but has been quickest in practice runs in Pyeongchang (Source: Getty)

The suits, devised by Northampton-based TotalSim and the English Institute of Sport, use similar technology to that worn by Britain’s all-conquering cyclists at the last three summer Olympics.

Team GB chiefs have stayed tight-lipped on specific features, but a spokesperson said: “We are confident that all competition equipment meets the technical and commercial requirements for every sport and discipline.”

The International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation said it had checked the outfits and found no infringements. “There were no rule violations at the presented suits,” the governing body said.

Around the Games: Day 2 - Winter Olympic Games
British skeleton riders (l-r) Laura Deas, Dom Parsons, Jerry Rice and Lizzy Yarnold are due to begin their medal bids on Thursday and Friday (Source: Getty)

Parsons, 30, who was 10th at the last Winter Games in Sochi four years ago, and fellow Briton Jerry Rice are due to begin their campaigns on Thursday morning.

Deas, 29, and Yarnold, 29, who is defending the title she won in Sochi, embark on their first runs on Friday.

Amy Williams also faced complaints from rivals about the legality of her helmet when she won gold – Britain’s first ever skeleton medal – at the 2010 Games in Vancouver.

Team GB’s curlers made a promising start to their medal challenges on Wednesday, with victories for both the men’s and women’s teams.

Kyle Smith’s men’s team opened with a 6-5 win over Switzerland before losing their second match 6-4 to defending champions Canada. They face Japan on Thursday morning.

The women’s team, skippered by Sochi bronze medallist Eve Muirhead, thrashed Olympic Athletes from Russia 10-3.

Read more: Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics: What to watch and storylines to follow

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