Belfast Telegraph

Monday 15 September 2014

Billy on the Box: It’s a cold house for talented British ladies

You can’t have failed to notice the change in the air this week but even I was slightly taken aback to walk into the office and find Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards standing there.

I’m not making this up, genuinely the Olympic legend was there, although a little different from how I remember him. The moustache has gone, and he wasn’t standing in a blue all-body condom with two planks tied to his feet, although he did look a little annoyed when I tripped and landed further away than his two jumps in Calgary.

It put me in the mood though for winter action, apart from scraping the windscreen off the car, and so I stepped gingerly (no offence, Eddie) into the world of skeleton on Eurosport on Saturday afternoon.

Matt Chilton, last seen getting very excited at Power Snooker, was back on more familiar and slippery terrain in Igls in Austria, a town desperately crying out for another vowel, and he gave us novices a valuable insight into the skeleton and its wily ways.

“You have to think of it like a fish — narrow at the back, wider in the middle and narrowing towards the front,” he explained. Ironic then that the skate (the fish, not the pointy thing you slide on) is round. I’m boring myself now.

Anyhow, lots of women dressed in shiny suits slid down at much the same speed, including Britain’s golden girl, Amy Williams, who finished in 12th and briefly got to stand on the pallet set aside for the leader.

It didn’t last long, maybe if she’d spent a bit more time practising rather than giggling beside Matt Dawson on A Question of Sport she could have made it all the way up to 11th and staged a last-gasp attempt for womankind to be represented in the Sports Personality of the Year.

She didn’t, but good news for Olga Potylitsina, the winner, who commentator Matt, said was ‘experiencing the joy of her life with the Russian doctor’. Well, they’re used to working with skeletons, although I don’t know where he’d stick his thermometer.

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