The Watford-born head of Great Britain Bobsleigh says preparations for the Winter Olympics are “in good shape” after the crews for Sochi were confirmed this morning.
Gary Anderson had hoped to have five sleds competing at the Games when he was interviewed by the Watford Observer at the end of last year – two four-man, two in the two-man event and one woman’s two-man crew – but ultimately only four made it through World Cup qualification after Britain only qualified one two-man sled.
Britain’s hopes of qualifying two four-man sleds had hung in the balance at the weekend but the decision was made to switch the three brakemen from number one pilot John Jackson’s sled to GBR2 driver Lamin Deen’s sled to boost his qualification hopes. The move paid off in Igls, Austria, as Stuart Benson, Bruce Tasker and Joel Fearon provided the start to secure Deen’s Olympic place by just 0.14 seconds.
Benson, Tasker and Fearon will revert to Jackson’s GBR1 sled as Britain seek their first Olympic medal in the sport since Sean Olsson’s four-man crew clinched bronze in Nagano, Japan, in 1988, while Deen’s crew will consist of Benjamin Simon, John Baines and former Olympic sprinter Craig Pickering.
Deen will also compete with Pickering in the two-man, with former world junior champion Paula Walker and Rebekah Wilson taking part in the women’s equivalent.
“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,” performance director Anderson told Team GB’s website.
The now Hemel Hempstead resident and avid Watford FC fan added: “Since joining British Bobsleigh after the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics our mission was to head to Sochi as the best prepared physically, mentally and tactically and I think we are in good shape.”