Presentation will end medal ‘rollercoaster’
By Stuart Laundy - Senior Reporter
GREAT Britain’s four-man bobsleigh team will receive their bronze medals from the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games at the Team GB Ball in London next month.
The GB 1 crew consisting of Barnard Castle’s John Jackson, Bruce Tasker, Stuart Benson and Joel Fearon finished the competition in fifth place, but following the disqualification of two crews, have been promoted into the bronze medal position.
Athletes from both Russia 1 (gold) and Russia 2 (fourth) were found to have committed doping violations following thorough re-analysis of samples taken at the games.
In being awarded the bronze medal, it takes Team GB’s tally for Sochi 2014 to five medals (one gold, one silver and three bronze), matching the tally won at PyeongChang 2018.
The athletes will be presented with their bronze medals at the Team GB Ball at Old Billingsgate at the end of November.
Mr Jackson, pilot of the Team GB 1 crew, said: “It has been an emotional rollercoaster since the McLaren report first came out – anger, disappointment, happiness, frustration and pure relief, once we had been told it was official.
“We will never have that Olympic moment, but receiving our medal at the Team GB Ball will be a special moment.”
British Olympic Association chairman Sir Hugh Robertson added: “This is another example of athletes denied their moment on the rostrum at an Olympic Games by doping cheats.
“Whilst we can never replace that moment at Sochi five years ago, I know that everyone at this year’s Team GB Ball will help John, Bruce, Stuart and Joel mark the occasion in the best possible way.”
l Meanwhile, the current GB bobsleigh team, which features Middleton-in-Teesdale’s Alan Toward received a boost ahead of this winter’s campaign.
Alan is part of pilot Brad Hall’s squad which is relying on sponsorship for this season’s events as UK Sport funding was withdrawn at the end of 2018/19.
The crews have taken delivery of new two and four-man sleds which will be used in the Europa Cup competition before Christmas and the World Cup, which begins in Winterberg, Germany, on January 3.
Alan and the rest of the bobsleigh team are due to head out to Lillehammer, in Norway, this week, to begin preparations ahead of their first competitive runs towards the end of November.