Supporters in Pewsey are getting ready to cheer on ice queen Shelley Rudman as she takes to the Olympic track in a bid to secure gold in the skeleton bobsleigh event.
She begans her quest for glory this morning with two track runs, at 7.30am and 8.40am, before the clinchers tomorrow, at 3.40pm and 4.50pm.
The times for each run counts, and the competitor with the lowest overall time wins gold.
Shelley’s mum and dad, Jack and Joise, were hoping to get over to Russia for the big event, but they were unable to get their visas sorted out in time so they will be cheering her on from Pewsey with Shelley’s six-year-old daughter Ella.
Mrs Rudman said: “We’re really excited; it’s fantastic to make it to three Olympics.
“On Thursday we’ll be watching the heats from home and then on Friday the plan is to watch it in The Coopers Arms with friends so there should be a good atmosphere.
“Shelley is always laid back about things, she’s just happy to have made it to three Olympics.”
Shelley tweeted yesterday: “So, it’s the first race day tomorrow! (Eeek!!) It’s been a great achievement to qualify for these Olympics, and I'm going to go out there and give it my best!
“Thank you so much for all the support – especially from my family, friends, the people of Pewsey, Wiltshire, Sheffield and beyond! It’s brilliant to receive so much encouragement from you all!
“Now onto race preparations ... send me fast race vibes for tomorrow please!!!”
Pupils at Pewsey Primary School showed their support for Shelley with banners.
Headteacher Nicola Gilbert said: “Pupils are really enjoying supporting Shelley and cheering on their local hero.”
The Moonrakers pub, which has become known as the headquarters of the Shelley supporters’ club, opened at 7am this morning for fans to cheer on the Pewsey slider. It will be opening at 3pm tomorrow, an hour earlier than usual; to show on its four TVs the final runs and landlord Jerry Kunkler is extending happy hour with Ready Shelley Go.
If Shelley wins gold, happy hour will run all day Friday and Saturday, silver all day Friday and for the bronze it will run until 11pm.
Mr Kunkler, who flew out to St Moritz last year to cheer on the ice queen during the World Championships, said: “I’m always hopeful. It all rests on the two days but if Shelley doesn’t get gold I fancy Lizzy Yarnold, who trains at Bath.
“Usually happy hour runs from 4pm-7pm on a Friday but we’ll be starting it an hour earlier, I always do when there’s a national event.
“There should get a good crowd in as there was last time around.”