Michelle Steele, a member of AIS Women's Skeleton Team, testing in the Monash University wind tunnel.
Michelle Steele, a member of AIS Women's Skeleton Team, testing in the Monash University wind tunnel. Greg Ford

Steele to hang up sled

AFTER the devastation of missing the cut for this month’s Vancouver Winter Olympics, Michelle Steele has opted to take a break from the sport that has consumed the past six years of her life.

Steele said she was not ready, nor willing, to embark on another winter season of skeleton competition after losing her Olympic spot to team mates Melissa Hoar and Emma Lincoln-Smith.

“Looking back on how tough it was to train straight after the last Olympics, I don’t think I could do that again,” she said.

“I’m definitely having a full season off and I’ll see how I’m feeling after that.

“It’ll be good to live a normal life again.”

And that is no small statement — the slider has had anything but a normal existence since being picked up as a beach sprinter by the AIS talent identification program in 2004.

“It’s been six months away from home every year sliding ever since, and it’s been go, go, go the whole time,” she said.

It was a luckless campaign for Steele in the end, with the best sliders in the world from Canada and England pushing her down a rung to the Intercontinental Cup when she was in search of maximum points.

She finished third when only first was good enough to make up ground on Hoar and Lincoln-Smith.

“Things just didn’t go my way — I guess it wasn’t meant to be,” she said.

The Innes Park girl, who now calls Hobart home, could not put her finger on what went wrong during the campaign.

“I was pretty happy with my form after Christmas. There’s so much that goes into it you could go for days if you started analysing too much,” she said.

An occupational therapist, Steele will look to secure work in Hobart and even make a return to the sand.

“I’d love to get back into lifesaving,” she said.

“I am going to miss the training and competition because I loved it, but it’ll be nice to have more time to myself.”



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