Two-time Winter Olympian John Jackson admits he will look back on his bobsleigh career with immense pride after opting to bring an end to his time as a pilot.
Royal Marine Jackson has etched his name into British bobsleigh history since first joining the programme in 2006, making his Olympic Winter Games debut at Vancouver 2010 before he guided Team GB’s four-man crew to a fifth place finish four years later in Sochi.
He was also a European Championship silver medallist in 2014 and competed in seven World Championships, finishing fifth in the four-man in St Moritz in 2013 and 11th in his last outing in Igls in February.
The 39-year-old has now decided to focus on family life after the birth of his twins last month although he will be working closely with the British Bobsleigh & Skeleton Association in a coaching capacity in the near future.
“I knew from the start that this sport was for me. Whether I thought I’d achieve what I have achieved, that’s another matter,” said Jackson.
“My proudest moment has to be representing Team GB at the Olympics but making little bits of history along the way is also very special.
“It’s been an enjoyable career with the medals that we’ve won. Dan Money and I won the first gold medal Great Britain had ever won on the Europa Cup in 2011 and that was a sign that we were worth investing in.
“Being the first British team to podium in a World Cup race for so many years in 2013 was pretty memorable, as was winning European Championship silver in 2014.”
Jackson and his ‘meatwagon’ – the alternative nickname Jackson and his crew Bruce Tasker, Stuart Benson and Joel Fearon gave their sled – finished just 0.11 seconds off a bronze medal at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
That came after the British pilot had recovered from a ruptured Achilles that had threatened to rule him out of the Games and ultimately led to a further season on the sidelines after Sochi – although Jackson revealed the hard work had been worth it after making his second Olympic Winter Games appearance alongside teammates and close friends.
“I have so many people I have to thank for all their support, from UK Sport and our sponsors, to all my coaches, my family and my fellow athletes, but a special mention has to go to our 4-man crew from the Sochi Olympics,” he added.
“It’s been a privilege to work with Stu Benson, Bruce Tasker and Joel Fearon: we built a really good team with an incredible spirit, achieved some big things together and narrowly missed out on a medal in Sochi.
“I always had faith in my own ability to win medals, and we did that at European and World Cup level. Do I still think there’s medals to be won? Yes, but it’s that time of my life where I have to pass the mantle on to the next man.”
Reacting to news of Jackson’s retirement, performance director Gary Anderson said: “John has been a wonderful ambassador for Bobsleigh in Great Britain and his achievements speak for themselves.
“He has proven himself to be a remarkably talented and consistent pilot across ten years of racing for his country and I am very grateful for, and proud of, his efforts during the six years that I have worked with him.
“He came so close to winning an Olympic medal in 2014 and at the previous year’s World Championships in St Moritz and he has played a major role in putting British Bobsleigh back on the world map.”