Family and bobsleigh separate for hopeful Fearon in Sochi

04 February 2014 / 15:47

With a name like Joel Fearon it is perhaps somewhat ironic that he makes a living going in excess of 90 miles-per-hour headfirst and eyes closed down a shoot of ice.

But the 25-year-old sprinter-turned-bobsledder insists his only worry ahead of his Olympic Winter Games debut in Sochi will be whether his wife Jemima is watching or not.

Fearon is part of Britain’s No.1 four-man bobsleigh team going places as fast as they hurl themselves down a track with talk of a medal in Russia not just murmured but encouraged.

For Fearon and the crew of Bruce Tasker, Stuart Benson and pilot John Jackson were 0.07 seconds off a world medal last season and have twice made history this campaign.

They claimed Britain’s first World Cup medal in 16 years with silver in Lake Placid and a first European four-man medal in two decades with another silver in the last event before Sochi.

Further history will need to be rewritten if they are to repeat the trick in Russia with Sean Olsson winning Britain’s last Olympic bobsleigh medal, a bronze at Nagano 1998.

But confidence and optimism is something Fearon has in abundance, provided his wife Jemima keeps with tradition and steers clear of the Sanki Sliding Center.

“I don’t think she’ll be coming,” said Fearon, a sprinter in the summer months with a 10.10 second 100m personal best set in Switzerland in July.

“She doesn’t even go to my athletics races. Sport and family are two different things. She can’t come, she’s not allowed.

“When I’m at home I just have to dedicate my time to my wife and son. When I come home from training I completely switch off, nothing to do with sports, it’s only them.

“And then when I go to training it’s everything to do with sports and nothing to do with them. My wife said no to me doing bobsleigh initially but we got around that and she’s happy now.

“I’ve been schooled on Britain’s history in bobsleigh at the Games recently as time is getting closer – no extra pressure.

“But a medal is 100 per cent achievable. Bobsleigh is one of those weird things where you can bounce around all over the place.

“But it’s definitely achievable, the World Championships were the marker for me, we’ve got everything we need to do that so we’ll just see how it goes.”

Fearon is part of a ten-strong British bobsleigh team for Sochi with a second-choice four-man team securing a place at the Games at the 11th hour.

Led by pilot Lamin Deen, Fearon helped get them there as the crew of the first team switched with that of the second team at the Igls World Cup.

However Fearon plays down his role in such generosity, admitting it was all down to pilot Jackson, who himself has made a remarkable recovery from a ruptured Achilles to reach the Games.

“For me it was a great pleasure to be able to help someone in that way and help the team and help all the staff in what we did. But really it was Jacko,” he added.

“It doesn’t matter who’s driving, we give them the best. We’re very tight knit and very close but when Jacko said that’s what you’re doing, that’s what we did.

“I wouldn’t know if Lamin did anything different because I’m at the back with my eyes closed. Little things like the start routine and the corners were different but we talked him around.”

The four-man bobsleigh is one of the last events to take place at the Games – the first two of four runs takes place on February 22 with the final two on the day of the closing ceremony.

Britain will have hoped to have climbed the podium, if not topped it, by then with the 56-strong squad being labelled as one of the promising ever assembled.

As well as Fearon and the first-choice four-man crew, Britain have realistic medal chances in skeleton, short track speed skating, freestyle skiing, snowboarding and curling.

But Fearon isn’t planning on travelling around the venues to see Britain make history, revealing he’ll be keeping himself to himself until February 22 in Sochi.

“I don’t plan to watch much of the Games, not until my job is done, I probably won’t be able to relax. I just want to keep my head down,” he added.

“My ambition is just to go out there, not change anything, do what I do best and don’t let the occasion get to me because I know that’s going to crumble a few teams.

“We’ve got a lot of surprises in place and we want to make good things happen.”

© Sportsbeat 2014