John Jackson admits he is still battling his fitness – but insists it’s no pain, no gain in his pursuit of Great Britain’s first Olympic bobsleigh medal in 16 years.
His four-man crew have posted some solid times in official training this week, despite far from ideal preparation.
Jackson defied medics to compete this season after a major Achilles injury last summer, which required pioneering surgery never attempted on an elite athlete.
He is looking to upgrade his fifth place at last year’s World Championships in Sochi, where he clearly likes the track, finishing fifth again at last year’s test event.
“I wouldn’t say I am fully fit, I am progressing still day by day by day,” said Jackson, who also claimed a first career World Cup podium with a silver last December and is competing at his second Games.
“I am in the best shape I can be but I would love to be running three or four tenths quicker over a sprint. I am now sprinting faster than what I was before I did my Achilles, so I can’t complain.
“We are coming into the Olympics as the best prepared team that we can be. There is pain sometimes, even just walking around, it hurts walking up and down hills it still hurts when I get to the bottom of the bobsleigh track.
“It is part of the life of being an elite athlete. We have just got to get on with it, it doesn’t hurt when I am pushing so that is the main thing.”
Jackson admits he thinks about the twists and turns of the Sanki Sliding Centre – where his sled can reach speeds of nearly 90mph – in his sleep and will have had 40 practice runs down the track when he lines up for race day on Saturday.
“I think it is a great track to drive. It suits our equipment, it suits us as a team at the start and we will see what happens in the race,” he added.
“We have had a good season, the psychological side of a sport where you chuck yourself down a mountain in a bath tub you have got to be slightly mental.
“It does pay to be quite mentally strong but in terms of expectations we have had a relatively good season in terms of results.
We have done a lot of moving and changing things around some of which has worked, some of which hasn’t.”
Jackson believes the USA will be the team to beat and admits Russia, whose drivers have had hundreds of practice runs on the track, could be dangerous, especially after their two-man pilot, Alexander Zubkov, dominated his rivals to win gold earlier this week.
“The first run of an Olympic Games there is potential for nerves to kick in but all the work we have done is preparing for that, so hopefully there will be no issues,” he added.
“Getting a result will be good but we’re here to enjoy it too.”
© Sportsbeat 2014