SHELLEY Rudman has weighty expectations for the Winter Olympics in Sochi next year as she bids to go one better than the shock silver medal she claimed at the Turin Games in 2006.
The Pewsey slider readily admits she has been piling on the pounds over the summer as she seeks to achieve an optimum balance between her respective body and sled weights – which in her case must not surpass a combined total of 92kgs.
Despite being crowned world champion in St Moritz earlier this year, the 32-year-old believes she can still make significant improvements in her search for that elusive Olympic gold.
Rudman, who has put on a stone since February, said: “I’ve been pushing a maximum-weight sled in previous years and this year I really wanted to improve my power and my starts and take some off my sled instead.
“Skeleton is the kind of sport where you can never stop making improvements and improving yourself, and I still see that I am capable of making another massive jump forward.”
Rudman’s world title success has allowed her to push towards another Olympic year under much less pressure having achieved her goal of winning medals in all her sport’s major events.
But she insists her recent success has only spurred her on towards the new goal of crowning her career with the ultimate accolade.
Rudman added: “I’m really excited about the season ahead because last season went really well and I achieved everything I wanted. I feel more relaxed and I've trained harder than ever before.
“I couldn’t believe it when I won an Olympic medal in Turin and I almost feel like I’ve done everything in reverse in my career – I won the biggest medal first, then the overall World Cups and World Championship came afterwards.
“I was adamant that I wasn’t going to finish in Turin with just one Olympic medal.
“I really wanted to continue improving until I achieve that goal. I will be overwhelmed if I get that gold in my third Olympics.”
To qualify for Sochi, Rudman must first win selection to the World Cup circuit via the Great Britain trials at the end of next month.
FOR MORE SPORTS NEWS, REPORTS & PICTURES SEE THURSDAY'S GAZETTE & HERALD AND FOLLOW US ON TWITTER @gazsport