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Royal Marine Bobsleigh Star: Olympic Medal 'Won't Be Quite The Same'

Royal Marine Sergeant John Jackson says it won't be quite the same receiving an Olympic bronze medal three years on...

Royal Marine Sergeant John Jackson says it won't be quite the same receiving an Olympic bronze medal three years on.

Sgt Jackson drove the GB bobsleigh to fifth place at Sochi in 2014, just 11 one-hundredths of a second off the podium.

Last month, however, the International Olympic Committee disqualified Russian bronze medallists Alexander Kasyanov, Aleksei Pushkarev and Ilvir Khuzin and gold medallists Aleksei Negodailo, Dmitry Trunenkov.

Royal Marine bobsleigh driver John Jackson
SSgt Jackson at the Inter-Services Bobsleigh and Skeleton Championships in Italy, in 2009

The decision means Great Britain will move up to third place behind Latvia and the USA, pending appeals from the Russian athletes.

But Sgt Jackson has told Forces Network any retrospective ceremony could never beat what the real thing would have been like. He said:

"I don't think we'll ever match [what it would have been like] receiving a medal at the bottom of the Sochi track."

"We all had family out [there], we all had friends watching that race and they were all at the bottom of the track when we came down on that last run.

"It'll be great for us all as individuals to get the medal in an Olympic environment [but] there are elements of it that won't quite be the same."

Sgt Jackson, who is hoping to receive his medal next year when he travels to the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, has by and large kept his thoughts to himself on the scandal.

Retired Royal Marine bobsleigh star John Jackson
SSgt Jackson has served in the Royal Marines for 21 years

Having retired from competitive bobsleigh two years ago, however, he admits it's hard to see the current series of races, especially as some of those now stripped of their Olympic medals, like Kasyanov, are still competing and winning.

He says he's relieved as much as anything at the International Olympic Committee's decision to disqualify them:

"To see some of these athletes that you know have been implicated [still competing]... shows the implications that the Russians [are having]... on the sport at the moment."

John will be working as a commentator in South Korea on the bobsleigh events.

But whatever medal happens in Pyeongchang, there's bound to be some feeling that he and the team should have been on the podium four years ago celebrating Britain's greatest bobsleigh success since Tony Nash and Robin Dixon's gold in Innsbruck 50 years earlier.

With thanks to the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation for video footage & imagery.

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