Jackson wants more than an Olympic experience in Sochi
January 16, 2014 07:34 am
Lee Jackson is determined to take more from his second Olympic appearance than just an experience.
Jackson made his biathlon debut in Vancouver and secured selection for Sochi this week after consistently ranking the top British athlete on the World Cup circuit.
However, in a sport where setting your sights is key - the 33-year old wants to be at his best when taking on the best, with cracking the world's top 30 the aim.
"I probably started thinking about Sochi, pretty much as soon as I got home from making my Olympic debut in Vancouver," said Jackson, a serving member of the 16 Regiment Royal Artillery.
"I know what the Olympics are about now and I just want to go there and focus on performance, rather than the experience, glitz and glamour that surround the Games.
"I’m excited by the prospect of another Olympics. I’m older, more mature and more experienced and I think that will help me.
"I want to compete against the best and do my very best, that’s what makes me train hard and make the sacrifices that I do.
"I just missed out on Turin 2006, so Vancouver was the end of an eight-year process just to become an Olympian and be a part of Team GB.
"I wasn’t at my best physically in 2010, my best result was 55th in the sprint and improving on that would be my first aim in Sochi and then I'm looking for a top 30."
But Jackson, who finished 55th in the sprint, 56th in the pursuit and 66th in the individual competition in Vancouver four years ago, admits biathlon is increasingly a younger man's sport - despite the likes of 39-year old biathlon legend Ole Einar Bjoerndalen, who arrives in Russia looking to add to his tally of 11 Olympic medals.
"I will be 34 just a few days after the Games and biathlon is changing," added Jackson, who took up the sport 15 years ago, just a few months into his military career.
"In Turin the average age was about 28 for a medal winner, in Vancouver it dropped quite significantly. Athletes from Nordic nations are maturing quicker; they are getting more consistency at an early age.
"But as a British biathlete it’s very different. It’s a ten-year journey to get to a level where you can establish good results at international level and then you’ve got another four or five years before you can look at breaking into the top 30 in the World Cup and then you are probably ready to retire."
© Sportsbeat 2014