Double world 400m hurdles champion launches Sochi 2014 bobsled bid

Sunday, 02 December 2012
By Duncan Mackay

Jana Pittman winning 400m hurdles Melbourne March 22 2006 Commonwealth GamesDecember 2 - Former double world 400 metres hurdles champion Jana Pittman has launched a bid to represent Australia in the bobsleigh at Sochi 2014 in the Winter Paralympics.

She has been selected to have a trial as a brakewoman for the country's bobsled team under the gudiance of pilot Astrid Radjenovic. 

"Astrid and I actually grew up together," said Pittman.

"We used to race 400m hurdles together as teenagers in Sydney and have been friends ever since."

Pittman, 30, won the 400m hurdles tiels at Paris in 2003 and Osaka in 2007 but has missed the last two Olympics at Beijing and London due to injury. 

"I am getting to the end of my [athletics] career and I wanted to stay involved in sport," said Pittman, who was formerly married to British hurdler Chris Rawlinson and has a five-year son Cornelis.

"I had tried a few other things like rowing but I really just didn't want to give up running.

"Bobsled still lets me train like an athlete but it is actually much better suited to my body.

"To push the sled you need to be as big and muscly as possible.

"I'm six foot and was always really too big for hurdles but this is perfect.

"I get to run and I am not getting injured."

Pittman is due to make bobsled debut in the World Cup at Altenberg, Germany, on December 31 having had her first practice run on ice just two days before. 

"We will have Jana with the team and slowly getting her used to pushing the bob on ice," said Radjenovi, who competed at both Turin 2006 and Vancouver 2010.

"Ironically, her first track she will face is the toughest and roughest on the circuit, in Altenberg.

"However Jana just told me to 'throw her in the deep end'.

"That quality is essential in any bobsledder."

Jana Pittman modelling Australia kit for London 2012Jana Pittman helped model Australia's kit for London 2012 but, for the second consecutive Olympics, injury kept her out

Pittman is confident that the lack of experience on the ice will not hamper her too much and will draw confidence from the fact that earlier this year American athletes Lolo Jones and Tianna Madison made the transition to the sport as members of America's bobsled team.

"I haven't been on the ice yet but I have absolutely no fear of it," Pittman said.

"I'm a bit of a dare-devil - an adrenaline junkie - I just can't wait to get out there and do it."

Pittman will be one of several brakewomen that Radjenovic plans to give an opportunity to before making a final decision.

If Pittman succeeds in qualifying for Sochi 2014 she will become the first Australian woman to represent the country in both the Summer and Winter Olympics, although sprinter Paul Narracott did it by competing at Los Angeles in 1984 and Albertville in 1992, as a member of the bobsled team.

Contact the writer of this story at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


R
elated stories
June 2012: Rawlinson Delhi withdrawal fuels speculation she wants to run for Britain
June 2010: Australian double world champion will not compete for Britain at London 2012
June 2010: Australia tells Britain, "hands off Jana - she's one of ours"
June 2010: Australian double world champion considering GB switch for London 2012
January 2010: Rawlinson removes breast implants to help win Olympic gold in London
comments powered by Disqus