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Jackson happy that team work has made the Olympic dream work

January 22, 2014 06:44 am

John Jackson admitted he wasn't happy surrendering his own World Cup bobsleigh ambitions - but insisted it was right for the team to come first.

Great Britain's first choice driver loaned his crew to reserve team driver Lamin Deen as he attempted to make the four-man Olympic qualification standard at last weekend's World Cup in Igls.

Stuart Benson, Bruce Tasker and Joel Fearon duly provided the start line fire power that booked a selection for Sochi by just 0.14 seconds, with Deen ranking 11th and Jackson - driving alongside Deen's normal crew - back in 20th.

"Last weekend was tough because on the last day of training we were quickest, so to give up that potential medal was a difficult decision," said Jackson, who was fifth at last year's World Championships and won Britain's first men's World Cup medal for 16 years this season.

"I wasn't overly happy about it at first but it's about the bigger picture, getting as many people in this sport to an Olympic Games. So that's the sacrifice we had to make and on reflection it was the right choice. 

"The look of the guys in the GB2 team when they knew they were going to the Games was absolutely ecstatic. I've got hairs on the back of my neck just thinking about their reaction and that we've got two teams."

Fearon, a British international sprinter, admitted he also got a boost out of propelling another crew into the Games.

And he believes having a bigger squad could only help his own medal ambitions, as Britain seek to win their first Olympic bobsleigh medal since Sean Olsson's four man crew won bronze at the 1998 Games in Nagano.

"Jacko made the decision, he heads the group and tells us what to do. So when he said to go we did it wholeheartedly," said Fearon. 

"I couldn't really tell the difference but I wouldn't know because I'm usually at the back with my eyes closed! 

"But we talked Lamin around to doing things John's way and it worked. We're chuffed to be taking two crews to the Games, the more knowledge and expertise we have there the better."

Deen will be joined at the Games by Benjamin Simon, John Baines and Craig Pickering, who also competed for Team GB in the 100m and 4x100m at the Beijing Olympics.

“I only started competing in bobsleigh 13 months ago, so to come from nothing to being selected to go to Sochi, it’s been hard work, but I’ve made it and I'm excited to have been selected to compete for Team GB again," said Pickering. 

"I’m looking forward to competing in Sochi, that’s why we do sport; to compete at the highest level and there is no higher level than the Olympic Games.”

Deen will also race with Pickering in the two-man event while former world junior champions Paula Walker and Rebekah Wilson complete a ten strong bobsleigh squad in the women's competition.

“Fifty years ago Tony Nash and Robin Dixon won gold at the Innsbruck 1964 Games and I look forward to watching our crews challenging for the top of the podium again in Sochi," said team performance director Gary Anderson.

“Since joining British Bobsleigh after the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics our mission was to head to Sochi as the best prepared possible physically, mentally and tactically and I think we are in good shape."


© Sportsbeat 2014