In the end there was no Olympic medal but it certainly felt like one was earned according to Bruce Tasker who is now preparing to become British Bobsleigh’s main man.
Tasker was bidding to improve four places after the first set of two runs in the four-man bobsleigh event in Sochi and reach the podium.
And while he could only manage two of those four places, fifth was still some achievement.
The 26-year-old wasn’t part of pilot John Jackson’s crew that finished 17th at the Vancouver 2010 Games but has performed minor miracles to help them improve 12 places.
Tasker joined forces with fellow crew Joel Fearon and Stuart Benson in the aftermath and, after a fifth at last year’s World Championships, 0.07 seconds off bronze, it was thought they could medal in Sochi.
They tried their best, indeed their final run produced their equal quickest start time and equal quickest overall time of their four when beaming sunshine made the ice on the track deteriorate at a rapid rate.
But the four-man bobsleigh field was one of the most competitive at the Games and explained why Tasker and the British No.1 crew were just 0.11 off bronze this time around.
It’s all change for the future with the plan for Jackson to eventually make way for Tasker to pilot and he cannot wait to get going – having first been informed that might be the case two years ago.
“It is an enormously exciting time because I am hoping to drive over the next few years,” said Tasker.
“I am not sure whether Jacko will stay on so I will do a bit of pushing for him as well as some driving. It is hugely exciting for me to know that there is the potential there to get in the front seat.
“I went to bob school in Igls two years ago and tried it out then. At the moment the priority was to gain funding through ourselves and Jacko’s sled. So I put it on hold and to ensure we got the results we needed.
“So there have been hints of it for a long time and I have been itching to get in that seat but I am really proud I held off and stayed pushing Jacko at the Olympics.”
Russian Alexander Zubkov led his four-man team to gold for a bobsleigh double at the Sanki Sliding Centre, with Tasker and Britain half-a-second down on them in total.
To put the British crew’s performance into perspective, it is their best finish since Sean Olsson’s four-man bronze at Nagano 1998, but at one stage Tasker’s dream appeared over.
Pilot Jackson ruptured his Achilles in training in July but has defied medics to recover in time for the Games and Tasker paid tribute to the man he looks like taking over from.
“Seven months ago when Jacko ruptured his Achilles we thought our Olympic dream was over,” he added. “So just to be here is an incredible testament to his dedication through his rehab.
“And to come down fifth is incredible. The target was top six and we have got that and we will maintain our level of funding which is great for the sport.
“In a sport that relies on Olympic results heavily, it is great that you don’t get a trough after the Games and we can follow them now into 2018.”
© Sportsbeat 2014