The British Olympic Association (BOA) today announced that two athletes from the sport of biathlon have been officially selected for Team GB for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. The two biathletes join athletes already selected from curling, figure skating and short track, bringing the total Team GB size to 23.
The selected athletes are:
Full athlete profiles for all selected athletes to Team GB for Sochi 2014 can be found here.
Jackson, 33, has been competing in biathlon for fifteen years and first competed at a Winter Olympic Games at Vancouver in 2010, having narrowly missed selection for Turin four years previously. At his Olympic debut, Jackson finished 55th in the sprint, 56th in the pursuit and 66th in the individual competition.
Sochi will be Lightfoot’s debut Olympic Games and her selection makes her only the second British women ever to achieve the qualifying standards in order to compete for Team GB in biathlon at an Olympic Winter Games.
Lightfoot (26) was introduced to biathlon through the Armed forces and selected for national team training from the British Championships. . She is now the top-ranked British female and trains while serving in the Adjutant General’s Corps of the Army. Jackson also combines training for Sochi with serving in 16 Regiment Royal Artillery in Oakham.
Jackson and Lightfoot’s selection for Team GB at Sochi continues Britain’s impressive run of having competed in biathlon at every Olympic Winter Games since the sport was introduced at Squaw Valley in 1960, a feat only achieved by five other nations.
Both Jackson and Lightfoot will feature in the Sprint competition, which consists of three laps of a 3.3km loop for men and 2.5km loop for women interspersed with two bouts of shooting, followed by the Individual competition - a 20km and 15km for men and women respectively, contested over five laps of a 4km or 3km loop interspersed with four bouts of shooting.
Their results in the Sprint will determine whether Jackson and Lightfoot progress through to the Pursuit competition, a further five laps of a 2.5km or 2km loop interspersed with four bouts of shooting.
Despite Britain’s impressive run of athletes competing at Olympic Winter Games in biathlon, Team GB has yet to win a medal in the sport. Mike Dixon achieved Team GB’s best result in 1992 when he finished 12th in the 20km Individual at the Albertville Olympic Winter Games.
Commented Sochi 2014 Team GB Chef de Mission Mike Hay:
“I am particularly pleased to welcome Amanda Lightfoot and Lee Jackson to the team as Team GB has an impressive track record of competing in biathlon at every Olympic Winter Games since the sport was introduced at Squaw Valley in 1960.
“Lightfoot now also enters the history books as only the second female ever to compete for Team GB. I wish them both the best of luck at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.”
Commented Lee Jackson:
“I am delighted to have been selected to compete in Sochi, which will be my second Olympic Winter Games. Having missed out on selection for the Turin Winter Olympics, Vancouver taught me how to deal with the pressure in the build up to the Games and I feel better prepared now heading to Sochi.
“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. My goal in Sochi is to achieve a top 30 result in the individual 20km race.”
Said Amanda Lightfoot:
“When it was announced that I had been selected for Team GB for Sochi 2014, I was overwhelmed, tears and laughter combined. It has been a worthwhile journey to get to this point in my sporting career and I will enjoy every minute of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics. My goals are to make the top 30 in the world and also to compete in the Olympic Pursuit race.”
Said Marc Walker, Team GB Biathlon Team Leader and Performance Director of British Biathlon:
"The build up to the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games has been a hard, long and winding road. With the support of the British Biathlon Union and the Army, I am proud to say that Amanda Lightfoot and Lee Jackson have both not only met the qualification standard, but have exceeded it.
“Leading the Biathlon team into the Sochi Winter Olympics will be the highlight of my career. We will do our best to make Britain proud and prove we can be a competitive nation in such an alien sport!"