Amy Williams MBE
Amy Williams claimed Team GB’s sole victory at the Vancouver Winter Olympics and put the skeleton bobsleigh event firmly on the map. She became our first solo Winter Olympic gold medallist for 30 years.
With no ice track in the country, Amy was forced to train on a dry-push facility with a bespoke sled. She had to maintain her own equipment, running the sled’s MOTs and spending hours in a wind tunnel in order to perfect her form.
Through trial-and-error, she eventually learned all aspects of the sport. She can talk in detail about the preparation of the sled, effect of air temperatures and the intricate mechanics of steering, but there were psychological challenges too.
She went down the same track that had killed a competitor only the day before, and threw herself into preparation and practice when daunted by teams who had easy access to all the facilities she lacked.
These limitations made her achievements in Vancouver all the more impressive. She reached 90mph and set two track records, finishing more than half a second ahead of her closest competitor.
Amy discusses her achievement and explains that success is down to meticulous team efforts, even in a solo discipline. She offers advice for those who need to prepare mentally and physically for high-pressure situations, and talks about resiliency in relation to bouncing back after a big low.
She has first-hand experience of this, having struggled with a ruptured knee, and other injuries that ultimately led her to retire from sport.
There are surprising benefits to adversity and uncertainty in sport, which Amy relates to business. She asks what companies can do to develop the skills competitors are lacking, as she did in Vancouver; by learning the track much quicker than the other nations could, she had more time to fine tune the run.
She highlights the importance of focusing on the things you can change and control, rather than the things you can’t.