Eurosport - Sat, 06 Mar 14:11:00 2010
Bobsleigh star Paula Walker insists she'll be Britain's premier track contender at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi after finishing 11th at Whistler.
Walker and Kelly Thomas stood 14th after the first two heats but improved to a creditable 11th at their debut Winter Olympics, 3.90 seconds behind eventual winners Kaillie Humphries and Heather Moyse of Canada.
The duo may have played second fiddle to world champions Nicola Minichiello and Gillian Cooke in Vancouver, but after the British number one sled rolled in their third run, Walker and Thomas were the top GB finishers.
And as the countdown now begins to Sochi and the 2014 Games, the 23-year-old intends to cement her status as number one at home and abroad.
"I definitely feel I'll be British number one for Sochi," said Walker. "I'm pretty sure that with four years work and hopefully funding that comes in that I should be on top and should be top six in the world.
"I'm not sure how UK Sport will react with funding for bobsleighing after our performances in Vancouver. Obviously Nicola Minichiello was UK Sport funded as world champion but I'm not funded at all.
"I'm hoping that with my 11th, it's credible enough to secure some funding but UK Sport need to look at it and hopefully they'll think that I'm worth it. We'll see in due course.
"The home advantage made a massive difference for the Canadians in Vancouver. For Sochi, I think it will be more of an even playing-field, which will help me."
The 1450m track in Whistler was the most demanding ever constructed for a Winter Games, with a 152m vertical drop, 16 corners and a top speed of 150kmh.
But after experiencing life in the fast lane in Vancouver - Walker admits it will be tough returning to normality.
"I'm thinking there'll be a bit of a comedown now," added Walker.
"For the next couple of weeks I'm going to be busy but when I get back to my day job in the army, getting up and putting my uniform on isn't going to be the same as putting my GB kit on and going down a hill at 90 mph, so I think there's going to be a bit of an anti-climax.
"It was definitely, by far, the fastest track in the world but it's the most exciting track in the world.
"It's just unfortunate that if you get something wrong it's not as forgiving but it's now make to normality for me."