Britain’s elite athletes have named skeleton racer Tabby Stoecker as their final Athletes’ Athlete of the Month for 2023 after she won gold in just her second World Cup race.
In her first full World Cup season Tabby won gold in La Plange to lead a 31-strong field in 02:05.13. She has now finished on the podium in two of her three World Cup outings, having became junior European champion in February. She described her expectations pre-season as “pretty low”, only looking to adjust to World Cup standards.
That aim shifted rapidly when Tabby’s training runs and first times in competition put her towards the top of the World Cup table, and she finished first she became the first British woman to win World Cup gold since Laura Deas eight years ago.
“Other athletes recognising the success I’ve had so far means the absolute world,” Tabby said of her award. “Because they’re the people who really understand the sacrifice and dedication it takes.
“For that event my aim was to put down my best runs. I wasn’t seeing myself on the podium or even the top 10. It was a fairly new track to me, I was on new equipment with new coaches and I was going to be proud of myself if on race day I could put down my two best runs. As we did training it became evident that I was doing quite well but I was still reluctant to believe that I’d come away on the podium. It really was a shock – my reaction was real.
“It’s hard to describe the feeling but I didn’t quite believe it. The pressure is quite intense and it’s naïve to say I didn’t feel any pressure… I tried to keep my mindset similar to how I would perform if I was sat anywhere else in the field.
“This season for me was meant to be all about learning. We’re three years out from the Olympics and my big goal is to get there. All my coaches and support team have been very solid in that that’s still my aim. But when you see yourself being able to perform and hold your own against such a competitive field it has changed the goalposts slightly.”
Tabby’s success topped a poll among elite British athletes to decide who on the World Class Programme deserved most recognition for their successes last month.
She was shortlisted alongside James Guy (swimming), Adele Nicoll (bobsleigh), Anna Toman and Struan Walker (both hockey).
The Athletes’ Athlete of the Month award is given to elite British sportspeople by the BEAA for their achievements in competition or elsewhere, such as personal development, inspiring comebacks, charity work, awareness raising and more.
It celebrates successes across elite British sport, and commends more than just competitive accomplishment – with every winner decided by the athlete community.
Huge congratulations to Tabby for winning, and to James, Adele, Anna and Struan for being nominated. Elite athletes, to cast your vote next time, get involved via your BEAA emails!