Winter Olympics: Heptathlete exchanges track for ice

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A Sheffield athletics coach has been picked for Britain's Winter Olympic team, only one month after first setting foot in a bobsleigh.

Nicola Gautier, 23, who runs junior coaching sessions at Don Valley Stadium, took up the sport after seeing friends getting involved.

"Getting a place on the team was fantastic and I can't wait to go to Salt Lake City to experience the competition," she said. "Realistically, there's a good chance that we'll achieve a top 10 place."

Her selection means she will have competed in two major multi-sports events within the last 12 months. Last summer she took part in the World Student Games in Peking as a heptathlete. "The athletics and bobsleighing seasons run at different times of the year, but both rely on similar qualities such as strength and speed. My training for the two sports should complement each other."

* Butch Reynolds, who was suspended from athletics competition for two years for allegedly failing a drug test, carried the Olympic torch yesterday on part of its route through Akron, Ohio.

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