University of Bath graduate Craig Pickering said he was ‘devastated’ to miss out on competing at the Sochi Olympic Winter Games after suffering a slipped disc.
Pickering sustained the injury to his back on Sunday (2 February) training at GB Bobsleigh’s Olympic preparation camp in Konigssee, Germany.
It means that at least for the time being, he misses the opportunity to become one of the few athletes to have represented Great Britain at both a summer and winter Olympics.
Pickering, a Sport and Exercise Science graduate, competed for Great Britain as a sprinter at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.
“Having missed out on competing at the London 2012 Games due to a back injury, I am devastated to have suffered a similar fate just days before the start of Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games,” he said.
“We worked so hard to qualify the GBR 2 sled for Games and I am gutted that I won’t be on the start line with Lamin, John and Ben.
“I would like to thank all the staff at British Bobsleigh who have been incredibly helpful in making sure I’ve had the best support and treatment both in Germany and back in the UK.
“I will cheering the boys on from the UK and wish the rest of Team GB the best of luck in Sochi.”
Gary Anderson Team Leader British Bobsleigh, which has its headquarters at the University of Bath, said the coaching staff are now considering their options. “We are fortunate that we have fantastic squad, which has strength and depth, so we know that whoever replaces Craig will put in a credible performance for Team GB,” he said.
“This is a big blow and I am personally devastated for Craig. I spoke with him just after we heard from the doctors and he was clearly very upset, he had worked so hard to get to the point of selection for Sochi.
“Craig is a very professional athlete and his concern for the team illustrated that, we had Craig sent back to the UK from our preparation camp in Germany to confirm the original diagnosis but it was pretty clear from the outset that this was going to be tough for him.”
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