(Reuters) - Double Olympic skeleton champion Lizzy Yarnold has undergone successful surgery to treat a long-standing back problem, the British Bobsleigh and Skeleton Association said on Tuesday.
Yarnold, who became the first Briton to successfully defend a Winter Olympic title when she claimed skeleton gold at this year’s Games in Pyeongchang, had an operation to fix some slipped disk on Monday.
“Lizzy has been managing the pain in her back for some time now and we were all of the same opinion that an operation was in the best interests of Lizzy’s health and wellbeing,” said Andi Schmid, British Skeleton performance director, said in a statement.
“We are delighted that the surgery was a success and we will now ensure that Lizzy has all the support she needs to facilitate her recovery.”
The 29-year-old Yarnold will continue her rehabilitation at home, with no return date yet set for a return.
“Skeleton is a demanding sport and the last Olympic cycle was a particularly intensive one in which Lizzy had to overcome a number of physical challenges,” Schmid added.
“While we appreciate that there will be questions regarding Lizzy’s return to action, the most important thing right now is that she rests, recuperates and gets herself back to full health in her own time.”
Yarnold said it was the best time for the surgery and now hopes for a quick recovery.
“I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who is helping piece this slightly broken athlete’s body back together,” said Yarnold.
“Now felt like a good time to have it done, I couldn’t manage the pain any longer! I’m not feeling great right now but here’s hoping recovery will be speedy.”
Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris