With just 100 days to go until the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games, University of Bath student Dom Parsons says he is in a good place physically and mentally for a big skeleton season ahead.
Parsons is on track for his second Olympic Games after once again being selected in British Skeleton’s World Cup squad for 2017-18, with the first race taking place at Lake Placid in New York on 9th November.
He has been a consistent performer on the ice in recent years, following up his tenth-placed finish at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics with further top-ten rankings at the 2015, 2016 and 2017 World Championships.
The last two performances were all the more impressive as he was hampered by an ankle injury but, after a pain-free summer of training at the British Bobsleigh & Skeleton Association’s University of Bath base, Parsons is ready to push on.
“I’m in a much better place physically and things are looking pretty good for getting onto the ice,” he said.
“I had an operation a couple of years ago but it took just over a year for the ankle to settle down properly and be able to take the load.
“I’ve had a much better summer this year and been able to do all the training I wanted to without having to modify anything. If the ankle is going to get better for any year, this is the one!”
It is ten years since Parsons, a former 400m runner, first took up skeleton and he believes the experience gained during the past decade will put him in good stead for the PyeongChang Olympic season.
“I don’t know if it’s a product of being older or having been to an Olympics in 2014 but I feel like I have more control over things this time,” said Parsons, who works with athletics coach Rob Ellchuk at the Sports Training Village.
“I felt a lot of tension and stress during the year up to Sochi but I feel like everything is more in order this time and I’m feeling more confident with it all.
“I can’t wait to get back on the ice. I’ve been watching race footage during the summer and doing imagery of lying on my sled, putting my helmet on and going down the tracks.
“It probably looks a bit stupid from the outside – my housemate came home once and said ‘what the hell are you doing?’ – but it’s all part of getting prepared for that first run.
“I love the feeling you get when you go down the track. It’s ten years since I first discovered that skeleton existed and that I loved it. It’s been a while and I’m still a student!”
Parsons, who is supported by the Team Bath Dual Career programme, combines skeleton with studying a PhD in Mechanical Engineering, although his focus for the next few months is firmly on sport.
“I’ve been working fairly hard on my PhD during the summer but, with it being an Olympic year, most of my consideration now has to go on skeleton,” he added. “I’ve got a lot of data and numbers to analyse once the season is over.”
If all goes to plan, Parsons will return to his studies as a double Olympian and, having competed in the test event earlier this year, he is determined to be back in South Korea in February.
“It’s a good track in PyeongChang, I managed to find a flow with it quite quickly,” he said.
“It’s a beautiful venue – the views from the top of the track are amazing – and I love Korean food as well.”
British Skeleton athletes train in the high-performance gym at the Sports Training Village and on the UK’s only outdoor push-start track. Visit www.teambath.com/skeleton for further details.