It's all downhill now for love-struck bobsleigh couple
Thursday, 21 October 2010
Men's number one John Jackson and his girlfriend Paula Walker - the women's top driver - have revealed that their competitive spirit transcends the bobsleigh track.
Speaking at the unveiling of Britannia Rescue British Bobsleigh's 2010-11 line-up at the University of Bath, Jackson said: "We are both very competitive at everything, so it's not just bobsleighing.
"If Paula beats me at anything, she makes sure that I know about it!"
Promising an exhilarating season, he added: "I am more than up for the challenge of being the number one pilot in Great Britain, but that is not my main focus.
"That is to become one of the top pilots on the world stage.
"Some say pressure is self-induced and I am a big believer in this - I know from past experiences the more I relax the better I drive.
"We are looking ahead to 2014 and devising a performance plan to get the result we need there.
"There are plenty of obstacles we need to overcome on the way and getting results for funding is the main one for me."
Girlfriend Walker - who only took up the sport four years ago - said: "I have worked hard for the last three years, making sure I was the strongest, the fastest and the best mentally prepared and now it's paid off.
"I feel I have come so far in such a short time.
"I now need to prove that the right choice has been made.
"I am in great shape and have been pushing personal bests so I am confident that I will be getting some great results this season."
The men's GBR1 team is made up of Jackson with brakemen Dan Money and Chris Woolley.
The men's GBR2 team includes Lamin Deen, Will Golder, Rich Sharman, Kevan Crowell, Keith McLaughlin and Martin Cooper.
The women's GBR1 team features Walker and her brakewomen Kelly Thomas Kelly Denyer, Heather Fisher and Rebekah Wilson.
Female athletes in the GBR2 teams include Gillian Cooke, Fiona Harrison, Faye Pittman and Nikki McSweeney.
British performance director Gary Anderson said: "We have some exciting young prospects and we are going to give these athletes experience this year as part of our long term goal of topping the podium in Sochi 2014.
"This is part of our performance plan.
"We have targeted the World Junior Championships this year as the launch pad of a sustainable programme where we have a number of crews all competing for selection as we move towards [the] Sochi [2014 Olympics]."
The new performance partnership Team Bath between British Bobsleigh and University of Bath was also launched at the press conference.
Michael Hoch, chief operating officer of the Department of Sport at University of Bath, said: "We are delighted to add bobsleigh to the TeamBath family, especially as the sport is coming back to its roots.
"We look forward to a strong, long and successful partnership and particularly to working with British Bobsleigh in the lead-up to the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games."
The University of Bath is also the home of British Skeleton and skeleton athlete Amy Williams, who was Britain's sole medallist at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games, bringing home the gold.
The women's GBR1 team will kick start their season on November 10 in the Americas Cup.
Their first World Cup race will be from November 22-28 at the Olympic Whistler track in Canada.
The men's team will start competing in the Europa Cup from November 15-21 in Igls, Austria.
September 2010: British Bobsleigh appoint new chairman
September 2010: Britain begin preparing girls bobsleigh team for Innsbruck 2012
August 2010: Anderson appointed as British Bobsleigh performance director