The first athlete we are supporting as part of our new Empowering Performance initiative is Laura Deas.
Through Empowering Performance, motive8 helps athletes to reach their goals by offering bespoke packages tailored to their exact needs, focusing on where we can best help improve performance.
Laura is a Skeleton Racer with an exciting 18 months ahead. motive8 is supporting Laura by providing the latest home gym equipment so she can fit in key training sessions at home between competitions.
Read our interview with Laura to find out more about her training and plans for the next Winter Olympics.
About Laura Deas
Laura started skeleton racing in 2009, having transferred from a horse riding background as part of a fast-track programme to compete at the Olympics.
She made history as part of the first ever British clean sweep of a skeleton podium at the Europa Cup in 2010 and went on to climb through the ranks to make her World Cup debut in 2014.
She won a silver World Cup medal in only her 2nd ever outing at that level and went on to win multiple other World Cup medals, including gold at Altenberg, Germany. She represented Great Britain at the Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang 2018 where she made history again by winning bronze alongside teammate Lizzy Yarnold’s gold and becoming the first (and only) British athletes to ever share a Winter Olympic podium.
She is now aiming to repeat her previous success at the upcoming Winter Olympics in Beijing in February 2022.
How did you get into Skeleton racing?
I got selected for skeleton in 2009 through a nationwide talent search run by UKSport called Girls4Gold. It was specifically designed to match potential future female Olympians with the sports they were ideally physically and mentally suited to. I applied with lots of ambition to become an Olympian but without any idea which sport, if any, might think I was suitable for the challenge!
Skeleton chose me after a gruelling 12-month process where the potential athletes were reduced from thousands to a handful who were selected to try the sport on ice. Out of this camp 4 of us were invited onto the World Class Performance Programme based at the University of Bath. The selection process on ice was one of the hardest and scariest things I’ve ever done but I fell in love with the challenges of head-first sliding on ice very quickly!
What have you got coming up over the next few months?
The first thing coming up this season is the test event for the Olympic Games in Beijing. Because of Covid-19 travel restrictions this is the first, and only, look at the track before the Olympic competition in February. So, there will be lots of pressure to get back into sliding quickly and learn as much as possible while we are out there.
After that we have the regular World Cup season which is an 8-race circuit throughout Europe. These 8 races double as Olympic qualifiers, and we have to maintain a certain world ranking through the series to be selected for the Olympics at the end of the season. The final race before the Olympics which is in Switzerland also doubles as the European Championships.
What does a standard week of training involve?
A standard week of summer training involves around 4 heavy lifting sessions as well as sprinting and pushing a sled on our artificial push track. Around these main sessions we also do other conditioning workouts.
We aim to train for every aspect of sliding through the summer as best as we can as the forces on the body (around 5Gs of pressure at upwards of 80mph) can be huge, as well as the aim of being the fastest push athletes in the world. The faster you can accelerate the sled before you jump on, the more initial speed you generate which is all crucial when the sport is measured in 100ths of a second.
We also need to be as physically tough and resilient as possible to get through a winter of sliding nearly every day without incurring injury. In the winter we squeeze physical training in around our on-ice training. Sometimes there’s a gym at the location that we can use, but often we train with equipment we bring with us, and that can frequently mean training outside, even in the winter.
What’s your training motto?
In terms of a training motto, I always come back to the one my first ever sliding coach taught me which is, ‘control the controllables’. It helps me feel motivated to do my best in the things I can affect, and not stress too much about the things I can’t change – it’s a useful reminder of where to put your energy.
How will your motive8 home gym help your training?
Lockdown last summer showed me how much can be achieved with a few key pieces of equipment and plenty of motivation! My home gym set up will enable me to reduce travel time and get in key sessions around my trips abroad.
How has motive8 tailored the equipment they’ve supplied to suit your training needs?
motive8 understood that I was looking to get good quality weight training sessions in without having a massive amount of floor space to work with. What they have provided makes the area look so spacious and professional. It’s very inspiring to have that kind of support and means I don’t have to compromise on training quality when I’m working from home.
How do you motivate yourself to train on those tough days or early mornings?
On the tough days or early mornings, it’s really just about bringing myself back to the goals I set myself and not wanting to look back on my Olympic preparation with any kind of regret that I could have done more. Nobody feels 100%motivated every day, even when they have huge goals, but that’s when discipline and good habits can step in instead to make it happen!