Meet East Lancashire’s 2014 Winter Olympic medal contenders: Paula Walker ready to make her mark

All smiles – Blackburn’s Paula Walker and, below, John Jackson

All smiles – Blackburn’s Paula Walker and, below, John Jackson

First published in

PAULA Walker is still the Blackburn girl who doesn’t like the cold.

But despite that the bobsleigh ace heads to next month’s Winter Olympics in Russia with a top eight finish in mind and an outside chance of a medal.

Having been named in the British squad last week Walker, who will be taking part in her second Olympics having finished 14th in Vancouver four years ago, will be partnered by brakeswoman Rebekah Wilson. Walker will also be joined in Sochi by her partner John Jackson who is in the men’s bobsleigh squad.

Walker’s road to medal contender has been a long one. The former St Bede’s High School pupil’s introduction to bobsleigh in 2007, at the age of 21, was a harsh one – an army training run left her battered and bruised, terrified and cold.

“I confirm, I still don’t really like the cold,” said the 27-year-old. “I remember that first run when I was persuaded to give it a go. I hated it. I was battered and bruised and I didn’t like the snow or the cold.

“I remember thinking at the time, ‘what am I doing?’ “I was absolutely terrified. It was one of the worst experiences of my life.”

But Walker’s talent shone through and she was invited to take part in Team GB trials before making her debut in 2006.

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