1. How did you originally get into biathlon and what was it that initially attracted you to the sport?
I joined the military aged 16 in 1997. Within 6 months of joining the Army I started cross country skiing and biathlon with my regimental ski team. Before I knew it I was racing at the Junior World Championships within just 18months of putting skis on for the first time. From there I started racing European Cups and at 22 years old World Cups. It all seemed to happen so quick and without any real effort. One moment I was learning to ski, the next I am racing at the top level of international competition.
I didn't have time to understand the ins and outs of the sport or appreciate its complexity. But the longer I was performing the more I realised there was something much deeper than just skiing and shooting. I have always enjoyed pushing my body to its limits physically. I think that is why I love the skiing part of biathlon and the shooting can make huge differences in the final results. Meaning the race doesn't always go to the fastest skiers but the best shot.
2. Vancouver 2010 was your debut Olympic Games. Can you tell us a little bit about how it felt representing Team GB, and what you gained from your Olympic experience?
Vancouver was amazing. I feel so fortunate to have been able to compete in what so many athletes and ex athletes say was the best Olympic Winter Games ever. The most important thing I learned from Vancouver relates to the pre Olympic build up; ensuring my Team GB selection is secure before my focus switches to Olympic mode. I know that the work is never done until I am on the start line in Sochi. This realisation became apparent during my preparations for Turin 2006 where I failed to be selected for the Games. Now I never think about the Olympics as any different from any other race.
Having been to Vancouver it's a little more difficult because I now know how great being a part of Team GB is and the atmosphere of an Olympic Games, but I aim to channel this ahead of the Sochi Olympics.
3. What would it mean to you to be selected as the sole Team GB male biathlete at the upcoming Sochi Games?
Being selected for the Olympics as the sole British biathlete would confirm to me that I have consistently been the strongest biathlete in Britain for the past 8 years, so competing in Sochi would be the icing on my cake! However as I am used to competing alongside my fellow compatriots at World Cup events throughout the season, competing without my teammates can be a bit lonely. But being a part of that one team, Team GB, is unbelievable, and remembering the disciplined four year commitment full of hard work and sacrifice helps me to focus on the task at hand.
4. Who is your sporting idol and why?
Ayrton Senna (F1 Driver) is one of my sporting idols. Although he competed in a completely different sport to biathlon, I particularly respect the fact that throughout his career he just wanted to race and compete, irrespective of the other factors that can be attributed to elite sport!
Aside from Senna, I have competed against and know so many super talented, unbelievable athletes and have a great appreciation of so many of them. Their work ethic and ability to push the limits is something I can relate to myself.
5. Amy Williams won the only gold medal at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics in the women’s skeleton, despite having to train on dry runs and in artificial conditions due to the British weather. How do you compensate for these issues when training for biathlon?
As British Biathletes we have a problem with not starting biathlon until our late teens due to low participation numbers and lack of UK venues. To be honest I do not try to compensate as I feel I can do the same as other athletes from other nations. I cannot think about any handicaps if there are any. I can only effect how hard I work, how professionally I approach my performance and be the best I can be.