Winter Olympics - Jackson 'deserved' Olympics spot

Reuters - Mon, 01 Mar 12:25:00 2010

John Jackson believes he deserved his Olympic bobsleigh selection - despite two crashes on the controversial Whistler Sliding Centre track.

Pilot John Jackson, Henry Odili Nwume, Dan Money and Allyn Condon of team Britain 1 crash during heat 2 of the four-man bobsleigh competition at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics in Whistler, British Columbia - 0

Jackson brought home Great Britain's four-man sled in a disappointing 17th place after a nasty-looking crash during the second run ruined any hopes of a top-ten finish.

It followed a similar spill during the two-man event, which resulted in a disqualification.

He was less than impressed with a banner at the finish line that read Where's Lee Johnston' a reference to the two-time Olympian who was overlooked for the Vancouver spot, despite reportedly impressing during trial races in Germany and Switzerland.

Johnston is considering legal action about his non-selection and one prominent member of the British Bobsleigh Association has resigned in protest.

Eyebrows were raised when selectors decided to mix and match members of the two British sleds competing on the World Cup circuit but Jackson claims that wasn't a problem.

"We've gelled from the off," he insisted.†

"We've been together for the last four seasons in an around each other so we know each other well and as a team it just clicked into place straight away from when we were in Park City just before we got to the Olympics."

Jackson responded well after the second run crash with slides of 52.24 and 52.15 seconds in runs three and four respectively.

It lifted him a handful of places but he still finished nearly six seconds slower than American Steven Holcomb, who claimed gold.

"Those runs were important for us," he added.

"We had a disappointing second run and we wanted to come back and show some pride and spirit and turn in a good performance.†

"The track wasn't quite as fast but it's still well prepared and a big challenge. We picked ourselves up and showed people what we're capable of.

"We've made up some places but, of course it's frustrating that we didn't finish higher. One mistake has cost us dear. We could have been pushing for a top ten place but I'm proud of the way we reacted to adversity.†

"There was a bit of emotion after the crash, but then we pulled ourselves together, worked as a team and did well."

Jackson will be 36 when the Games are next staged but insists he wants to be there.

"Now we have to look to the future and to plan for Sochi," he added.†

"I want to be there and I hope that the other three guys will be there with me."

However, team-mate Dan Money - who had spent the World Cup season being driven by the snubbed Johnston - believes the team's funding will now be cut, because of their performances in Vancouver.

"Funding is essential for me to stay in the sport," he said.

"We've shown promise but our performance here will affect our funding for next season and, as things stand, we won't be getting any money for next year.

"That means there is a question mark about whether the four of us could carry on in the sport, so that's why it was such an emotional moment.

"None of us are getting any younger we've all got mortgages and wives.†

"This year is Olympic year and you don't mind putting your hand in your pocket but it's now the start of a new Olympic cycle and four years is a long time.†

"It's hard to commit to Sochi without any certainty of what will be there support wise."

Reuters

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