Jackson unsure of his future but in awe of Bjørndalen
February 14, 2014 06:39 am
Lee Jackson insists he's not quite ready to call time on his Olympic career and is taking inspiration from a forty something who is still winning medals.
Jackson finished 42nd in biathlon's 20km race - the final event of his campaign in Sochi. But he believes he's still improving as an athlete, even if, at 33, he fears his body may no longer be as willing as his mind.
"I had one miss on the range and that's pretty perfect for me, hitting that would have guaranteed top 30 and I don't feel in that sort of shape. The course is so hard and demanding, it's difficult to feel in shape," he said.
"The hills are so tough and so long and you climb from the very start of the race. They've also salted the course which makes it a slower. Considering all these factors, I'm extremely happy with my performance, especially my shooting.
"I'm closer to the podium places than I was four years ago, so that's really encouraging. I'm in better shape, I was better mentally prepared and my percentages behind the top guys are much better."
Norwegian legend Ole Einar Bjørndalen, who should become the most decorated Winter Olympian ever in the coming days, is still going strong at 40, winning 10km sprint gold here 16 years after the first of his 12 medals at the Games.
Jackson has yet to decide on his future and wants to enjoy a family holiday before committing himself again to one of the most gruelling and demanding sports around.
"I've got three competitions left this season and then it's a long and deserved holiday with my family with some time away from my skis and rifle," he said.
"After that I will assess the future. I know I won't continue without a goal, I just need to see if I've got the legs to do this for another four years.
"I want to be able to keep improving and learning and advancing myself as an athlete. It's a long journey for a British biathlete because we start the sport so much later.
"I'm only just getting to the point where I'm mastering the skills and mixing it with the other nations, so retiring now will be very difficult. However, sometimes the body can only push so much.
"Ole is a very special man, he's one of the best endurance athletes ever. To be still winning races at his age and to be so dedicated and focussed is amazing.
"I'm just in awe of him as an athlete, I know for sure I won't still be doing this at 40."
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