Saturday, 20 February 2010

Winter Gold

After an interval of 30 years, a solo British athlete has won a gold medal at the Winter Olympics. We don't have a great history of medal winning in the Winter Olympics, after all we don't have the weather and facilities for many of the sports involved, but we do have a good record in the Women's Skeleton. In the last three Winter Olympics, our ladies have brought home first a Bronze Medal, then a Silver Medal, and now Amy Williams has won the Gold Medal and deserves our hearty congratulations.

This particular event is relatively new to the Winter Olympics and it is surprising that British athletes should do so well at it. We don't have a track in this country, so all practice has to be undertaken elsewhere. And it's not exactly the kind of event that many of us would want to take part in anyway. The thought of travelling headfirst at speeds approaching 100mph down an icy course consisting of twists and turns while lying on something that resembles a tea tray must require either a special form of courage or a spirit of foolhardiness.

I'm not a particular follower of the Winter Olympics unlike the Summer Olympics which I watch avidly. However, this particular event holds an interest for me because I personally know one the British ladies who have excelled at this event. Alex Coomber, who won the Bronze Medal (competing even though she had a broken wrist) eight years ago, used to work for me.

Well, when I say that she worked for me, what I mean is that she was a member of staff of the office of which I was the head. Alex was a junior officer in the RAF and I was the civilian Head of Section. I remember clearly the day that she told me that she was going to enter the RAF Winter Sports Championships in the Skeleton Bobsleigh as it was referred to back then. I told her that she must be mad, especially as she had never taken part in the event before. She won the championship and went on to become World Cup Champion in the event three years running. In addition, she also won a Silver Medal in the World Championships in 2001.

1 comment:

Bippidee said...

That was a nice story, I liked that. The Skeleton is so exciting - I have been gripped by it! Have you seen where our girls train? It looks like a disused railway track, which makes them winning medals all the more impressive!