Winter Olympics 2014: Team GB bobsleigh crew let final chance of medal slide – but only just
The margin between a medal or fourth place was just 0.11sec
Sunday 23 February 2014
John Jackson fell 0.11sec short of snatching the medal that would have made these Britain’s most successful Winter Olympics. Jackson’s four-man bobsleigh crew were the last of Team GB’s 56 athletes to compete, in the Game’s penultimate event, but failed to add a fifth medal as they finished fifth at the Sanki Sliding Centre on Sunday.
Jackson had finished 0.07sec short of a world championship medal last year and throughout his four runs he edged closer to the top three only to once again be left painfully shy. It meant a blank closing weekend for Britain but Jackson’s final placing was within the sport’s pre-Games target. Including the four medals, from Lizzy Yarnold, the curlers and Jenny Jones, Britain had 13 top-eight finishes across the Games. It is a return that is likely to see winter sports receive an increase in funding for the Pyeongchang Games in 2018.
It is 50 years since Tony Nash and Robin Dixon won Britain’s only bobsleigh gold and while there was never any real chance of matching that, Jackson and his crew of Stuart Benson, Bruce Tasker and Joel Fearon had hopes of a medal after a strong showing around the track in the training runs. That alone marked no small achievement for Jackson, who had snapped his Achilles in training last summer.
“We were close and I don’t think we were disappointed,” said Jackson. “I think we’ve done Great Britain proud. I had a small moment when I was unsure whether I was even going to make the Olympics, never mind being in the top five in the world. Tomorrow is seven months post my operation, so just to be here on this stage and standing 0.11 away from a medal, I can’t be disappointed.
“Seven months ago I wasn’t going to be here so it’s testament to these boys here, who didn’t stop working and training and who always believed that we would be on the Olympic start-line.”
Over their four runs Jackson’s team were twice second fastest but it was their first go on Friday night when they were only 10th fastest that cost them.
Canada claimed the final gold medal of the Games with a convincing 3-0 victory over Sweden in the men’s ice hockey final. The Swedes’ preparations were disrupted when one of their key players Nicklas Backstrom was pulled out of the team at late notice after failing a dope test. Backstrom, a forward who plays for the Washington Capitals in the NHL, was listed on the original team-sheet. The players were only told Backstrom was out in the dressing room before the match.
According to the Swedish Olympic Committee, Backstrom tested positive for a substance contained in an allergy medicine which he had been taking since 2007. He is the sixth athlete to return a positive test at the Games.
Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews and Chris Kunitz scored the goals for Canada as they retained their Olympic title. This one was secured much less dramatically than their over-time victory against the US on home soil four years ago as they dominated the game as they have the tournament. Canada are the first team to go through an Olympics unbeaten since 1984.
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