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."

Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvName confirmed for third series
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
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

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine