Skeleton star Kellyman on turning sporting heartbreak into sliding success

·3-min read
Bath-based skeleton star Milly Kellyman is 'buzzing' over the Winter Olympics next year
Bath-based skeleton star Milly Kellyman is 'buzzing' over the Winter Olympics next year

SKELETON star Milly Kellyman knows the Winter Olympics like the back of her hand – and admits channelling nostalgia from the Games is what’s put her on the map as one of Britain’s brightest sliding talents.

With less than six months to go until Beijing 2022, British Skeleton have now begun to pivot their attention towards more golden glory on the Chinese ice.

Amy Williams and Lizzy Yarnold – twice – bolted to victory in Vancouver, Sochi and PyeongChang and Bath-based ace Kellyman, who was previously mentored by the two Team GB legends, is hoping Milano Cortina 2026 will be her time to shine.

The 28-year-old, now in her fifth her under British Skeleton’s wing, said: “It was the 2016 Olympics that I saw the Talent ID programme, Discover Your Gold, that UK Sport put on every four years after the Olympics.

“They were trying for skeleton, canoeing and track cycling. When they said I was going to do skeleton, I was shocked – I’d never heard of it in my life!”

Kellyman is hoping to match the success of Olympic medallists Lizzy Yarnold and Amy Williams
Kellyman is hoping to match the success of Olympic medallists Lizzy Yarnold and Amy Williams

But that time around, Kellyman didn’t make the cut for the Great British Team.

After training to be a teacher at the University of Derby, she was given another chance in 2019 and this time, she was successful.

Now in Lillehammer, Norway, where she has recently raced in the European Cup, Kellyman is flabbergasted with how far she’s come – from starring at a school sports day to scaling the globetrotting international heights.

She added: “The first time when I didn't get selected for skeleton, it completely floored me.
“It was such a heart-breaking moment because it was something that I didn't necessarily know about, and I ended up really enjoying it and being quite good at - to then not get selected was really tough.

“As I went through athletics as a kid, I had all these hopes and dreams of representing Great Britain and it going really well, but it's not always plain sailing.

“I was 17, 18 and I realised I wasn't going to be making the Great Britain team at that point.

"Reality kicked in - I went to uni, I trained to be a teacher, and I think that's the best thing that's ever happened because I can work now alongside training for skeleton.”

Throughout the global pandemic, Kellyman tutored children across the country from her home and training hub at the University of Bath.

But it’s the thrills and spills of skeleton that really capture her attention and Kellyman says there’s no place she’d rather be than racing on the rapid European ice.

Kellyman, whose sliding journey is fuelled by a partnership between Entain – owner of Ladbrokes and Coral – and SportsAid, said: “Initially, skeleton was absolutely terrifying.

“But as you progress through the sport, everything seems to slow down and you can focus more technically on track.

“The thrill from getting those technical efforts right is insane, the thrill at the bottom of the track is amazing, and you just want to go again and replicate it.

“It is crazy, it is scary, but it's a massive adrenaline rush at the same time – I couldn’t imagine life without it now.”

Entain, owner of Ladbrokes and Coral, is proud to be championing the next generation of British sporting heroes by providing talented young athletes with financial support and personal development opportunities in partnership with SportsAid. Visit entaingroup.com to find out more.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting