Top 6 Best Women's Skeleton Riders Of All Time
Skeleton is one of the most entertaining and dangerous sports in the Winter Olympics. With such high speeds at play, great reflexes and skill are required to succeed within the sport. Certain athletes have distinguished themselves amongst the competition, making them the best skeleton riders ever. Keep reading to learn about the top six best women’s skeleton riders of all time.
Who are the best women’s skeleton athletes of all time?
- Lizzy Yarnold
- Tina Hermann
- Marion Thees
- Jacqueline Lölling
- Noelle Pikus-Pace
- Maya Pedersen-Bieri
1. Lizzy Yarnold
- Two-time Olympic gold medalist
- Three-time IBSF World Championships medalist (1 gold and 2 silver)
- 2015 Bobsleigh and Skeleton European Champion
- First individual athlete from Great Britain to defend their title at the Olympics
Yarnold was born in Sevenoaks, Kent, in Great Britain, and knew she wanted to be an athlete when she witnessed Denise Lewis in the 2000 Olympics. After a lack of initial success, she found a program that helped her get involved in the British National Skeleton program. She developed a knack for the sport and made her Olympic debut in 2014, where she won gold. She followed up this appearance by winning gold again at the Pyeongchang Olympics in 2018. This was the first time an athlete from Great Britain has defended their crown in the Olympics. Along with her Olympic success, she captured a gold and two silver medals at the IBSF World Championships.
2. Tina Hermann
- IBSF World Cup overall gold medalist in 2016
- Four-time IBSF World Championship individual gold medalist (three consecutive)
- Finished every World Cup season in the top three in overall rankings
While Hermann does not have many Olympic accolades, she is still one of the best in her sport. Born in Germany, she began professional competition in 2007 and joined her home country’s national team in 2008. She participated in one event at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics but failed to medal, finishing fifth. However, she won the individual IBSF World Championship four times, including three consecutive world titles. She also captured 13 World Cup victories and one overall gold medal. Hermann has finished in the top three in overall rankings in every single World Cup season.
3. Marion Thees
- Participated in two Olympic games (Vancouver 2010 and Sochi 2014)
- Two-time World Cup overall Champion (2009 and 2013)
- Four-time IBSF World Championship gold medalist (2009 and 2011)
Thees, a rider of German descent, began her professional career in 2001 and gained many accolades along the way. Both a two-time World Cup overall Champion (2009 and 2013) and a four-time World Championship gold medalist (two in 2009 and two in 2011). Her gold medals in the World Championships came in both the individual and mixed team events, with two from each. She also finished second in 2009 at the European Championships, making it a very successful year for her. She won a gold medal in the World Championship team competition in 2011, followed by second-place finishes in 2012 and 2013.
4. Jacqueline Lölling
- Olympic silver medalist in the 2018 Pyeongchang Games
- Four-time World Championships medalist (one gold and three silver)
- Three-time World Cup overall gold medalist
Jacqueline Lolling had success from a very young age, beginning her career in 2007 at the age of 12. Lolling is also of German descent, adding to the list of successful German skeleton riders in the past decade. She would continue on to become German National Champion by the age of 15. After entering as the favorite to win the tournament, she won bronze at the 2012 World Junior Championship. Lolling won a silver medal at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games after participating in both 2014 and 2018.
5. Noelle Pikus-Pace
- Olympic silver medalist at the 2014 Sochi Games
- Five-time Skeleton World Championship medalist (2 gold and 3 silver)
- Returned from injury in 2007 to secure a World Championship gold medal
- Retired after the 2010 Olympic Games but made a comeback in 2014 by winning the silver medal
Noelle Pikus-Pace grew up in America as one of the best skeleton riders the sport has ever seen. She suffered a serious leg injury at the beginning of the 2006 season, causing her to sit out the first half of the year. Pikus-Pace came back even better and would go on to win the World Championship the following year in 2007. Appearing in two different Olympics in 2010 and 2014, she captured one silver medal at the 2014 Games in Sochi. This was even more notable because she had initially announced her retirement following the 2010 Olympics to focus on motherhood, but came back in 2014 to win a medal.
6. Maya Pedersen-Bieri
- Olympic gold medalist at the 2006 Turin Games
- Selected as the flag bearer for Switzerland at the Olympic closing ceremonies in 2006
- Won five World Championship medals (2 gold, 2 silver, and 1 bronze)
- Five-time World Cup gold medalist
Maya Pedersen-Brieri participated in three Olympics from 2002-2010 and captured a gold medal at the 2006 Games. Following her win at the 2006 Winter Olympics, she was the flag bearer for her home country Switzerland at the closing ceremonies. She also won the World Championship the previous year in 2005, making this one of the more dominant periods of her career. Additionally, Pedersen-Brieri was a five-time gold medalist at the World Cup, cementing her place as one of the best skeleton riders of all time.
Who is the greatest women’s skeleton rider of all time?
Lizzy Yarnold is the greatest women’s skeleton rider of all time. She won gold at both the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi and the 2018 Games in Pyeongchang, making her the first-ever British athlete to successfully defend their gold medal performance at the Olympics. Further, she won three medals at the World Championships, including one gold and two bronze medals. Yarnold was not initially successful but grew into one of the most dominant and successful forces in the sport’s history.
What women’s skeleton rider has the most IBSF World Championship gold medals?
Tina Hermann of Germany has won the most IBSF World Championship gold medals. She won four gold medals within five years, from 2016-2021. Her world titles came in Igls in 2016, Whistler in 2019, and Altenberg in 2021. One of the best the sport has ever seen, Hermann has also never finished below the top 3 in the World Cup season.
When were skeleton events for women added to the Winter Olympics?
Women’s skeleton was added to the Winter Olympics in 2002. While skeleton events were originally added to the Winter Olympics in 1926, this Olympic debut only featured a men’s event. Men’s skeleton was removed for the following two Olympic Games in 1932 and 1936. Skeleton was a part of the Olympic program again in 1948, again strictly in the form of a men’s event, but experienced a long hiatus from Olympic inclusion until the 2002 Games in Salt Lake City. The sport has since remained a part of the Winter Olympics in every edition since 2002, featuring a men’s, women’s, and mixed team event.