Commonwealth Games: Jones marks return from her nightmare with 'gold' medal

When the total of English medals earned at these Commonwealth Games is finally settled, one at least should carry an asterisk denoting special merit.

When Emma Jones said the bronze she earned in last night's individual cycling pursuit felt like a gold, she had compelling reasons to do so. The 27-year-old Cheshire rider took to the podium just over five months after a collision with a car had left her with serious spinal injuries while she was cycling to the Manchester velodrome on 10 October for a training session.

"The impact broke one of my vertebrae and it shunted back into my spinal column and it was only one and a half millimetres away from my spinal chord," she said. "At the time I was told by a passer-by to lie down and I didn't really want to but I couldn't feel my legs. But she saved my career because I was told at the hospital that if I had sat up the vertebra would have gone backwards into the spinal chord and severed it and I would have been paralysed."

Jones, who had got married just a month earlier, had to spend a week immobilised in the Hope Hospital, for whom she has subsequently set up her own fund-raising charity.

"I was having nightmares that I was being hit by a car and waking up," she recalled. "They had to medicate me heavily at night to stop me having nightmares because as I was waking I was jolting myself and moving my spine.

"I was in such pain that I told my mum I wanted to go to sleep and not wake up again, but she wouldn't have any of it. She kept on encouraging me to do more things and get back to cycling." Jones spent another fortnight in hospital and only got back on to a normal bike on 11 January.

Since she has been in the Athletes' Village she has been in regular contact with the Australian cyclist Alexis Rhodes, who almost died in Germany seven months ago after another collision involving a car which killed her team-mate Amy Gillett, the world junior champion. Coincidentally, Jones was in a group of British cyclists who arrived on the scene immediately afterwards.

"My team were out there training," Jones said. "I saw Alexis on the ground and she has been a great inspiration to me to get back on the bike after my accident."

Rhodes, who suffered injuries to her lungs, spine and thorax, made an astonishing recovery to take part in yesterday's individual pursuit but failed to get through qualifying. "We are good friends," Jones added. "Her accident was more serious than mine, but it's been a relief for both of us to talk."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Accounts Clerk

£15500 - £16250 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This specialist maritime consul...

Recruitment Genius: B2C Field Salesperson

£14000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are seeking a salesperson to expand o...

Recruitment Genius: Electrician - Full Time Employed

£29000 - £37500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to expansion and increased ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Class Teachers Required in Norwich and Great Yarmouth

£20000 - £45000 per annum: Tradewind Recruitment: I am working on behalf of a ...

Day In a Page

Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

Solved after 200 years

The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

Sunken sub

Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

Age of the selfie

Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

Not so square

How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

Still carrying the torch

The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

...but history suggests otherwise
The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

The bald truth

How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

Tour de France 2015

Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

A new beginning for supersonic flight?

Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash
I would never quit Labour, says Liz Kendall

I would never quit party, says Liz Kendall

Latest on the Labour leadership contest
Froome seals second Tour de France victory

Never mind Pinot, it’s bubbly for Froome

Second Tour de France victory all but sealed
Oh really? How the 'lowest form of wit' makes people brighter and more creative

The uses of sarcasm

'Lowest form of wit' actually makes people brighter and more creative
A magazine editor with no vanity, and lots of flair

No vanity, but lots of flair

A tribute to the magazine editor Ingrid Sischy
Foraging: How the British rediscovered their taste for chasing after wild food

In praise of foraging

How the British rediscovered their taste for wild food