Sprint ace Pickering set for Sochi Winter Olympic challenge

05 February 2014

University of Bath graduate Craig Pickering is set to join a select group of athletes who have competed at Summer and Winter Olympic Games after swapping the athletics track for the bobsleigh track.

Pickering made his Olympic debut in the iconic Bird’s Nest Stadium in Beijing at the 2008 Olympic Games as a member of Britain’s 4x100m relay team.

Six years on the University of Bath Sport and Exercise Science graduate is poised to return to Team GB colours to compete in the bobsleigh at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

Switch of sports

Pickering will be brakeman for Lamin Deen in the GBR 1 two-man bob and teams-up with Deen, John Baines and Ben Simons in the GBR 2 four-man crew.

Remarkably, Pickering’s appearance at Sochi comes just over a year after taking up bobsleigh.

His switch of sport brought him back to train at the University of Bath Sports Training Village, headquarters of British Bobsleigh and home to the unique push-start track.

The 27-year-old acknowledges his athletics career seemed to be coming too an end after back surgery two years ago, which ruled him out of challenging for a place at London 2012.

But’s he looking forward to his second crack at competing on the world’s greatest sporting stage.

“I’ve reinvented myself”

“I’m really, really excited to be going to my second Games,” he said. “The Olympics are the pinnacle of any sport. It was great to have competed at one Olympics, to do it twice will be absolutely brilliant.

“I’ve reinvented myself and I think I’m enjoying this experience a lot more than I was at Beijing. I’m determined to make the most of it and enjoy the experience,” added Pickering, who used to train at the University of Bath with British Athletics coach Malcolm Arnold.

Pickering’s sprint career saw him clock a personal best 100m time of 10.14 seconds in 2007, the fourth best British time of the year, and take silver over 60m behind then training partner Jason Gardener at the 2007 European Indoor Championships.

“My focus for Sochi is helping my team to do the best we can. I’m just focussed on doing my job,” he said.

“I enjoy the environment of the team. There’s quite a lot of banter and it’s a fun environment to be in. We’re quite relaxed when we’re not on the track, but then we can cut off and just focus straight away when we need to.”

You can find a list of all of the athletes with Bath links competing at Sochi and a competition schedule of their events on our dedicated Sochi pages.

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