University of Bath-based bobsleigh athletes selected for Sochi

22 January 2014

Ten bobsleigh athletes who train at the University of Bath were today (Wednesday) named in the British team to compete at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

British Bobsleigh has its headquarters at the University of Bath and many of Britain’s top bobsleigh athletes do some of their training at the Sports Training Village.

Team GB will have two four-man bobsleigh crews in action in Sochi, a two-man crew and one two-woman crew.

Craig Pickering, who gradated from the University of Bath with a Sport and Exercise Science degree in 2009, is among the selected athletes. He has been picked for the GBR 2 four-man crew and for the two-man crew. Pickering has already represented Great Britain as a sprinter at a summer Olympics in Beijing in 2008.

He said: “I only started competing in bobsleigh 13 months ago, so to come from nothing to being selected to go to Sochi, it’s been hard work, but I’ve made it and I am excited to have been selected to compete for Team GB again. I’m looking forward to competing in Sochi, that’s why we do sport; to compete at the highest level and there is no higher level than the Olympic Games.”

Bruce Tasker, who graduated from the University with a Biochemistry degree in 2008, features in the GBR 1 four-man crew, said: “I’m very honoured to be selected for the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

“It has been a long and tough journey for which there are many people to thank. It has been difficult keeping the excitement at bay but now we have qualified and been selected I can really begin to enjoy focusing on performing my best at the Olympic Winter Games.”

Gary Anderson, Team GB Bobsleigh Team Leader and Performance Director of British Bobsleigh said:  “Since joining British Bobsleigh after the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics our mission was to head to Sochi as the best prepared possible physically, mentally and tactically and I think we are in good shape.

“Fifty years ago Tony Nash and Robin Dixon won gold at the Innsbruck 1964 Games and I look forward to watching our crews challenging for the top of the podium again in Sochi.”

GBR 1 four-man driver John Jackson has defied the odds in qualifying for Sochi, his second Olympic Winter Games, after rupturing an Achilles in July last year.

He said: “To represent Team GB for a second time is a great honour.  What makes it so special for me is that the official team announcement comes exactly six months after a full Achilles repair operation.  I’m looking forward to performing on the greatest stage, the highest level of competition with my teammates.

“We hope to make the United Kingdom proud in Sochi.”

Lamin Deen pilots the GBR 2 four-man bob and the two-man bob.

Paula Walker drives the British women’s crew partnered by Rebekah Wilson. The duo won the World Junior Championships at Park City in the USA in 2011. Walker contests her second Olympics after placing 11th in Vancouver four years ago.

Walker said: “It fills me with great pride to represent Team GB once again. Eight years of hard work have gone into trying to be the best physically and mentally. I hope that we do our country proud in Sochi.”

British bobsleigh athletes train on the push-start track on the University of Bath’s campus and also train in the gym and indoor running straight. Team bath also provides some support services to British Bobsleigh.

The following bobsleigh athletes have been selected:
• John Baines (born; Middlesbrough lives; Topcliffe, Thirsk) (GBR2 4-man)
• Stuart Benson (born; Glasgow lives: Bath) (GBR1 4-man)
• Lamin Deen (born; London lives: Withington) (GBR2 4-man, GBR1 2-man)
• Joel Fearon (born; Coventry lives: Bath) (GBR1 4-man)
• John Jackson (born; Barnard Castle lives: Trowbridge) (GBR1  4-man)
• Craig Pickering (born; Crawley lives: Bath) (GBR2 4-man, GBR1 2-man)
• Benjamin Simons (born; Broseley lives: Bath) (GBR2 4-man)
• Bruce Tasker (born; Manorbier lives: Bath) (GBR1 4-man)
• Paula Walker (born; Blackburn lives: Trowbridge) (GBR1 2-woman)
• Rebekah Wilson (born; Altrincham lives: Bath) (GBR1 2-woman)

Meanwhile, Zoe Gillings, who used to train at the University, has been selected for the snowboard cross event in Sochi, her third Olympic Winter Games.

For further information about Team Bath please contact the Team Bath press office at Matchtight Ltd on 01225 383518.

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