Remembering Tony Nash

A unique Olympic champion, bobsledder Tony Nash has sadly passed away aged 85..

Born in Amersham, Buckinghamshire, Nash first took up bobsleigh during national service and remained in the sport when he went back to the family brewing business in Chesham.

He would go on to manage his uncle’s engineering firm, requiring skills that would serve him well while representing Team GB.

Daredevil Nash struck a deal with his father that he wouldn’t try motor racing if he was allowed to slide. He started out in a four-man sled with Robin Dixon, the future Lord Glentoran.

A spot for Nash opened up after Dixon’s previous partner, Formula One driver Henry Taylor, was seriously injured in a Grand Prix accident.

Nash was a brilliant driver and with Dixon as his trusty brakeman, broke the track record in their first competition, the 1961 World Championships in Lake Placid.

In a sport then dominated by Italy and latterly Switzerland, Nash and Dixon won bronze at the 1963 World Championships.

Nash, always described as ‘gregarious’, made fast friends with star Italian pilot Eugenio Monti and got to use the nation’s newly-developed tracks, helping Britain keep up with the rest of the world.

On Olympic debut at Innsbruck 1964, Nash and Dixon led after two of four runs - thanks in part to a sporting gesture immortalised in Olympic history.

A bolt on the British sled incurred irreparable damage on the first run, with Monti delaying his own run to offer the use of one of his spare parts to keep them in the competition.

Monti would later be awarded the Pierre de Coubertin medal for the gesture.

Conditions deteriorated on the second day of racing and an error on their final run led to Nash and Dixon giving up on their chances of gold.

"We went to a hut near the finish and had a coffee and schnapps and thought, 'well played, but not well played’” said Dixon.

But they would hold on to win the Olympic title by 0.12 seconds from the second Italian sled.

"By 10.30am the champagne was out. It didn't stop for some time," said Nash.

It was Team GB’s fourth Winter Olympic gold medal and no British sledders have matched the achievement since. Both Nash and Dixon were awarded MBEs.

The pair went on to win the world title in 1965 and also competed at the 1968 Olympics, finishing fifth.

In later life, Nash ran a timber company and settled in Devon.

His legacy in the sport will live on. There is a corner of the Cresta run in St Moritz, the world’s first-ever sliding track, named after him: the Nash-Dixon corner.