I’ve known of Tom for a number of years through Border Harriers Athletics Club in Carlisle, UK. Tom, only 20 years old, was always very driven and through the encouragement of his parents took his talent to the USA where he would study and compete. Tom is the future of long distance running for Team GB. Having moved to the USA to study he currently is attending Oklahoma State University and is mixing study with hard graft as he tries to make the Team GB Athletics Olympic squad for the 5,000m.
Already this year Farrell in his first race of 2012 on the 28th of January in Fayetteville, Arkansas at the Razorback Invitational ran a new personal best 7mins 52.38 secs over 3,000m indoors finishing in 4th place. Tom knocked more than two seconds off his previous best time. This time was the 2nd fastest ever by a GB U-23 indoors and puts him ahead of Mo Farah at the same age in the Indoor Rankings. Farah only managed 7mins 54.08 secs at the same age.
Last year Tom ran the “B” standard for the 5,000m in California during the Summer of 2011 (5000m 13mins 26.59 secs) and will be hoping to step up to the A standard this Summer. Last year Tom ended up 2nd ranked GB athlete only to Mo Farah the current World 5000m Champion. The standard that Tom is aiming for is 13mins 20.0 secs and after the fantastic progression seen from him last year this time barrier is most definitely within this young mans grasp.
This years Olympics may come to soon in terms of winning a medal for Tom but he has his sight set on 2016 where he hopes to take on the best of the Africans and claim a medal. But at only 20 Tom has the world at his feet and definitely has the drive and determination to not only qualify for the Olympics this summer but to cause a stir in the world of Athletics over the coming year.
23-year-old Lizzy Yarnold will be an unknown to many around the world of sport. However this young girl has made a big impact in her chosen sport of Skeleton. In 2012 she has already claimed one world championship and 2 world cup wins.
The sport of Skeleton, originating in the Swiss resort of St. Moritz, Switzerland, is a fast winter sliding sport in which an individual person rides a small sled down a frozen track while lying face down with their chin resting centimeters from the ice.
Her ultimate aim will surely be to take over the mantle of Amy Williams the current Skeleton Olympic Champion from the Vancouver winter Olympics, and Shelley Rudman, who was recently crowned World Cup overall winner. This year however has seen Lizzy rise to the top of the sport in a very short space of time. She started sliding in 2009 and the following year she claimed a Silver medal at the 2010 World Junior Championships and finished second overall in the 2010 Europa Cup, the second tier of Skeleton sliding.
In 2012 though Lizzy has raised her game and must surely rank as a favourite for the 2014 Winter Olympics. She started the year with a stunning victory in the home of Skeleton St Moritz. The World Cup race reduced to one run due to heavy snowfall Lizzy led the race by a quarter of a second from fellow Brit Shelley Rudman. In a sport that is often separated by hundredths of second the distance in the winning margin was hugely impressive. This was her first World Cup podium. Following this result Lizzy travelled to the Junior World Championships. Held in Igls, Latvia the Junior World Championships saw Yarnold take a fantastic Gold ahead of the best young athletes from Germany, Russia and the rest of the world.
For most these results will have been enough in a fledgling career that is going from strength to strength. But for Lizzy this was just the start. She capped a fantastic first season in the World Cup by claiming a second World Cup victory in Calgary, Canada. This victory was very impressive and over the 2 runs she amassed a terrific winning margin of over half a second. This result has helped her finish 9th in the overall World Cup rankings. All in all this season has been a huge success and with the Senior World Championships still to be held can Lizzy add to the success she has seen already?
Lizzy Yarnold is certainly an athlete to follow in the future and all eyes will be on Sochi in 2014 as we look to see if she can claim Olympic Gold.