'Yarnold, conversely, was so relaxed that she had prepared in the Olympic Village by knitting and watching episodes of Downton Abbey.'
Fast-forward five and a half years, and she was in Sochi. At the Sochi Olympics, the kind of danger that skeleton presents was experienced by Noelle Pikus-Pace, the American regarded as Yarnold’s greatest rival. On one of the final training runs before competition, Pikus-Pace had had a serious crash when the G-forces created on the ice had caused her to black out mid-run and bang her head. Pikus-Pace had dusted herself down sufficiently to make it to the start line. Yarnold, conversely, was so relaxed that she had prepared in the Olympic Village by knitting and watching episodes of Downton Abbey.
After the first two runs on Day One, Yarnold had built a lead over Pikus-Pace of 0.44 seconds. In skeleton, that is considerable. On the first run of Day Two, when all her rivals needed to start reeling her in, Yarnold broke the course record. For her fourth and final run, she was a dead cert. She would win gold by 0.97 seconds.
Chapter learnings by Chelsea Warr
The common denominator of any high-performing organisation is having hugely talented people. When people discuss talented people, they often say: ‘They’ve just got “IT”.’ But what exactly is ‘IT’? How can we confidently know they really have ‘IT’, and how can we separate performance from potential?
Put square pegs in square holes. We would never have heard of Lizzy Yarnold if she had stayed in heptathlon. How many of your employees are working in the wrong roles? How often do you encourage job swaps to optimise a better matching of talent to task? What might Talent Transfer look like in your business?