Team GB bobsleigh is piloted by Lamin Deen
Plunging down an ice tunnel or doing backflips off a snow jump is thrilling but dangerous.
Yet it’s all in a day’s work for some British hopefuls at the Winter Olympics in South Korea.
UK snowboarder Katie Ormerod, who was one of our leading medal hopes, was ruled out by injury today , but there are plenty more with a great chance.
Here are our top prospects at the Winter Games getting under way today in Pyeongchang .
Lamin Deen: Bobsleigh
Deen reckons his Army background helps him hurtle down the track at breakneck speed
Bobsleigh pilot Deen, 37, reckons his Army background helps him hurtle down the track at breakneck speed.
He says: “It sets you up nicely, the military, for bobsleigh because you have to be very, very robust.
“You go off the top of a mountain, you crash at 80mph, you have to pick yourself up, go back to the top and run off again.”
After leaving school he joined the Grenadier Guards and has served in Northern Ireland, Bosnia and Kosovo. He represented the Army at athletics, boxing and basketball before taking up bobsleigh.
He pilots a men’s four-man crew. Born in London, Deen, who is 36, moved to Manchester aged nine. He grew up in the Moss Side area of the city.
Dave Riding: Alpine skiing
Dave Ryding became the first Brit since 1981 to get on the podium at an Alpine World Cup event
He made a name for himself last year when he became the first Brit since 1981 to get on the podium at an Alpine World Cup event.
His second-placed finish in the slalom equalled what Konrad Bartelski did in a downhill race all those years ago. It’s an incredible rags to riches story for Ryding, 31, of Bretherton, Lancs, who learnt to ski on a dry ski slope.
Ryding was only able to practise on snow a few times a year until he was 15 or 16
His dad gave up his job as a women’s underwear salesman to retrain as a gas engineer to fund his son’s ambitions.
Ryding was only able to practise on snow a few times a year until he was 15 or 16.
He said that’s “why it’s taken me so long to get where I am – I’ve always been catching up”.
Molly Summerhayes: Freestyle skiing
Molly works in McDonald’s to help fund her Olympic dream
When she isn’t flipping herself over a half-pipe in this amazing event, Molly is flipping burgers in McDonald’s in Sheffield to help fund her Olympic dream.
She is a former World junior champion and sister of another Olympic freestyle skiing hopeful, Katie Summerhayes.
Katie, 22, is fully-funded as one of Team GB’s best contenders so she doesn’t need to work, whereas Molly, 20, only gets partial funding – hence the zero hours contract at McDonald’s.
She is a former World junior champion
She says: “I couldn’t ask for a better job. If I ever need time off, I can have it. If there is a shift I need to get covered for, they help.”
Molly and Katie are so competitive they still race each other up the stairs, so they will be pushing each other all the way at the Games.
James Woods: Freestyle skiing
James sees his sport as an artform
Slopestyle skier and Yorkshireman James Woods learnt his trade on an artificial piste in Sheffield.
He will take on a course featuring rails and jumps, while pulling off a series of spins and flips in the hope of securing a medal for Team GB.
James, 26, explains: “I see what I do as an art. Competing against myself is the big thing, and winning medals is a by-product almost.”
James hurt his hip just before the slopestyle at the Sochi Olympics and finished fifth, but he won a gold medal at the X Games last year.
He said: “I know I’m the best in the world at this... so I’ll be disappointed if I don’t win, but I won’t let it define me.”
Rowan Cheshire: Freestyle skiing
Rowan Cheshire says "there is an emotional and mental side to post-concussion trauma"
Rowan Cheshire, 22, is back after suffering a head injury at Sochi four years ago, followed by a second accident that left her with anxiety and depression.
“People don’t realise there is an emotional and mental side to post-concussion trauma.
By 18, she was the first female British skier to win a World Cup competition since Jilly Curry in 1992
“I wouldn’t go out on my own. Situations that I would normally deal with quite easily, I would end up having a breakdown over,” says Rowan, from Stoke-on-Trent.
With the help of a sports psychologist, she is back on form and ready for the women’s halfpipe event. Rowan started skiing at 10. By 18, she was the first female British skier to win a World Cup competition since Jilly Curry in 1992.
Andrew Musgrave: Cross-country skiing
Musgrave began cross-country skiing when he moved to Aberdeenshire aged 11
He is the Brit who can take on the Norwegians at their own sport.
Born in Dorset, he lived around the world because of his dad’s job in the oil industry.
Musgrave, 27, began as a downhill skier but switched to cross-country when he moved to Aberdeenshire aged 11.
He says he feels like he's "a better skier than last year"
In 2014 he shocked the Norwegians by winning at their national championships weeks before the Sochi Olympics. But his form went out of the window at Sochi.
He admits his earlier success went to his head but is confident of doing himself justice this time. Musgrave says: “I feel I’m a better skier this year than last year. It is realistic of me to be fighting for a medal in the 30km and 15km.”
Elise Christie: Speed skating
Christie suffered online abuse after a series of disqualifications in Sochi
There was heartbreak in Sochi four years ago as she was disqualified from all three events she was competing in.
She then suffered vile online abuse. But she is made of tough stuff after getting through a campaign of bullying at school. The pain she endured as a pupil included a head injury that hospitalised her.
She says her success is down to her mum
Christie, 27, has become one of the finest speed skaters on the planet. She says her success is down to her mum who pushed her to leave home in Livingston, West Lothian, at the age of 15 to train full time in Nottingham.
Christie says: “I wasn’t interested – I enjoyed sport but I needed to do my school.
“Mum said ‘you’re going’. And I had no choice.”
Eve Muirhead : Curling
Muirhead's father also competed in curling at an Olympic level
Curling is a family affair for the 27-year-old. Her dad Gordon competed in the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, and her brothers Glen and Thomas are in the men’s curling squad in Pyeongchang.
Eve, from Blair Atholl, in Perthshire, captained the women’s team to bronze at the Winter Games four years ago.
But she is determined to do even better this time around at what will be her third Winter Olympics – even if it means putting the rest of her life on hold.
She says: “My whole life revolves around my sport, everything else takes a back seat. That might make me a bit boring but I’m doing everything I can to get that gold medal here.”
Lizzie Yarnold: Skeleton
Yarnold broke records when she won at the Winter Olympics four years ago
Yarnold, chosen to carry the Union Flag for the nation at the opening ceremony, has a lot of hopes resting on her shoulders.
She broke records when she won at the Winter Olympics four years ago – and will be hoping to strike gold again this time.
She hopes to retain her title
Yarnold, from Sevenoaks, Kent, entered a sporting talent search scheme in 2008 and in seven years went from skeleton beginner to Olympic, European and World champ thanks to her terrifying exploits on her sled Mervyn, designed by her husband.
“It’s a lovely thing to dream of going to Pyeongchang to retain my title,” says Yarnold, 29.
Away from sport, she enjoys listening to The Archers.