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‘I aim to be best in the world within one year’

A FORMER Teesdale School pupil says he will be going for gold at next year’s Winter Olympics after he narrowly missed out on a World Championship medal by a hundredth of a second.

John Jackson proved he is one of the best bobsleigh drivers in the world after he and his teammates came fifth in the event, held at St Moritz, inSwitzerland.

John, who was dubbed the Barney Bolt when he took part in the Winter Olympics in Vancouver in 2010, said he was pleased with the weekend’s placing but aims to become the best in the world by next winter.

The 35-year-old, whose mum Julie Lee-Shields still lives in the area, had his fans’ hearts in their mouths when his teams’ bobsleigh flipped over at high speed during the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

He finished 10th at St Moritz last year but this weekend’s runs show the Royal Marine is back on track. He said: “Two years ago we finished 23rd, last year 10th and today fifth so we are pleased with our achievements. If you take our line of improvement the graph would show the next step is Olympic Gold a year from now.”

John and his teammates Stuart Benson, Bruce Tasker and Joel Fearon, put in one of the best British bobsleigh performances since 1998. The team’s accumulative time across the four runs saw them just 0.66 seconds behind the eventual gold medallists, Germany, and just 0.07 seconds off the bronze medal position, with an overall time of 4.21.33.

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