British bobsledder Paula Walker admits she has a chip on shoulder following a crash last season, but is prepared to shake it off in style and prove her world-beating credentials.
Since finishing 11th in the two-woman event at the 2010 Vancouver Games alongside Kelly Thomas, Walker has gone from strength to strength – becoming world junior champion in 2011 with Rebekah Wilson.
And even though she switched partners again a year later – this time to Gillian Cooke – Walker has continued to shine, the duo finishing seventh at the 2012 World Championships.
In fact the pair had improved so much that in January this year they were on course for their first World Cup podium finish as they sat third after the first run, only for a crash in the second run to ruin all that.
To make matters worse both Walker and Cooke picked up injuries as a result of their sled turning upside down and limped to the end of the campaign, finishing 14th at the World Championships a month later.
But the 26-year-old insists she is ready to put all that behind her as she prepares to prove her worth to her partner Cooke and the rest of the world this year.
“The highlight and the low point was the crash in Altenburg as we came last but when we crashed we were in bronze position so we must take that as a positive as well,” said Walker.
“My injury got me down, I’ll be honest, and the results started to deteriorate and obviously our start went downhill and that took a huge toll on myself and Gill because I felt responsible.
“I have completely put the World Championships in the bin and I’ve taken every positive that I can but its not the result we deserved or wanted so now I’m looking forward to the next season.
“My self-belief and Gill is the same, we think we have the ability to be there and that’s not necessarily saying we will be there but the good thing is that I think we’ve been written off by a lot of the other nations and now we can use the summer to readjust and get ourselves as physically fit as we can be and then world domination here we come.
“I need to make sure that I’m concerned with what only concerns me, I get myself in a mess sometimes because I get involved in things which do not matter, I just need to control the controllable which is me, getting up to do my training to make sure I am physically the best in the World.”
British Bobsleigh has never looked healthier on both the men’s and women’s side, with youngsters Mica McNeill and Jazmin Sawyers following in Walker’s footsteps by winning silver at the 2012 Winter Youth Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria.
But with the 2014 Winter Olympics on the horizon, Walker is not about to surrender to the young upstarts.
“It’s brilliant because there are people who are going to be nipping at my ankles very soon and it’s a great place to be knowing that I can’t just rest because I’m Paula Walker because whose Paula Walker really,” she added.
“So the young ones are always going to be there and once I’ve gone I can watch TV and I can think about the successful programme I’ve left behind because there is such strength and depth there.”
© Sportsbeat 2013