Silver for bobsleighers ensure Innsbruck 2012 ends on a high for Team GB
Sunday, 22 January 2012
January 22 - An outstanding silver medal for female British bobsleighers Mica McNeill and Jazmin Sawyers ensured that Team GB finished the first Youth Winter Olympic Games here on a high.
Lying in fourth position after their first run in a time of 56.29sec, the pair produced a spectacularly fast second run of 55.56 to move up the field and claim the silver medal.
The silver medal brings the British tally to three following gold and silver for Jack Burrows and Aydin Djemal respectively in the short track speed skating 3,000 metres mixed nation team relay yesterday, but it represents the only medal won by a fully British team at the Games.
"This means everything to us," said McNeill, the driver.
"We're trained so hard for this.
"It is incredible and words can't describe how we feel right now. In the second run we just gave it everything we had and it worked.
"This is the first step in our careers for bobsleigh and it means we're definitely heading in the right direction and hopefully in the future we'll keep progressing and stay on the same tracks.
"Hopefully this will be good for the sport of bobsleigh in Britain."
Brakeman Sawyers added her delight at the result, which saw Britain finish second behind the Netherlands duo of Marije Van Huigehbosch and Sanne Dekker.
"This is just an incredible feeling," she said.
"To have been fourth after the first run and then produce when we needed it to secure a medal feels amazing.
"It feels brilliant to have a silver medal because we have trained so hard for this moment and we really need to thank all the coaches and support staff who have enabled us to go out and do this."
The result ensured the latest British Olympic success on the track, which witnessed the Team GB pairing Robin Dixon and Anthony Nash claim Olympic gold back in 1964.
Team GB's second women's bob team of driver Kirsten Emery and brakeman Frances Slater finished just outside the medal places in fourth after posting times of 56.42 and 55.92 leaving them just 0.19 off the bronze medal.
In the men's competition Team GB's driver Oliver Biddulph and brakeman James Lelliott finished fifth, one tenth of a second behind the bronze medallists from Monaco, Rudy Rinaldi and Jeremy Torres (pictured).
The British pair recorded 54.87 in their first run, and an improved time of 54.54 on their second run as the event was won by the Italian duo of Patrick Baumgartner and Alessandro Grande.
With one gold and two silver from Innsbruck 2012, Team GB Chef de Mission Sir Clive Woodward wss happy with the performance of his team in an event that saw over 1,000 competitors aged 14-18 from over 70 nations compete across all seven sports on the Olympic Programme.
"The Winter Youth Olympic Games have provided a fantastic learning experience for Team GB's 24 athletes," he said.
"I have no doubt that every single athlete, whether in victory or defeat, has gained a great deal from their unique Youth Olympic experience.
"For the four British athletes going home with medals around their necks, they have a moment I'm sure they will remember forever.
"Crucially, the experience gained in Innsbruck goes well beyond the sporting competition.
"The athletes have learnt about the special Olympic atmosphere of living in an Athletes' Village, competing in a multi-sport environment, dealing with the media and participating in the culture and education programme.
"I'm pleased that they have fully embraced all these aspects and it has been fantastic to watch athletes from different sports and different backgrounds really support each other as part of one Team GB.
"I look forward to watching these athletes develop their careers and I hope that the past ten days have provided them with an important stepping stone in their journey towards fulfilling their ambition to compete for Team GB at future Olympic Winter Games."