WINTER OLYMPICS: Stubborn streak can lead to medal

Lancashire Telegraph: Paula Walker Paula Walker

PAULA Walker believes her stubborn streak and will to succeed is a lasting legacy inherited from her dad.

It was a stubborn streak that saw her win the world junior bobsleigh title in 2011 – a title she dedicated to her dad Paul who lost his battle against myloma cancer in the same year.

And it was a will to succeed that saw her recover from knee surgery to reach her second Winter Olympic Games.

Walker will be cheered on by family and friends in Sochi but she knows her number one supporter will be looking down on her, urging her never to give up.

“My dad was a huge part of my life and really made me the stubborn fool that I am,” said Walker pilot in the two-man women’s bobsleigh team.

“Which, in some ways, is not a great quality but by goodness I don’t give up and that in sport is the key.

“My mum Denise, grandma Jean, aunty Trisha, uncle Paul and cousins Samii and Mckenzie will all be out in Sochi cheering me on but I will be thinking about my dad too.”

The 27-year-old from Blackburn used to write get well messages on the back of her legs while competing in the World Championships, a pick-me-up for her father who was too ill to see her compete.

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The former St Bede’s High School pupil admitted she felt guilty competed while her dad will ill but it was what he wanted.

He insisted that she went on to compete in the World Junior Bobsleigh Championships which she went on to win.

“I felt guilty continuing with bob sleighing knowing my dad was at home, but it is what he wanted,” said Walker at the time. “So each race I put something on my legs just simply like ‘love you dad’ or ‘hi mum and dad’ to cheer him up.”

Walker’s partner John Jackson, who is part of GB’s four man bobsleigh team, knows all about that stubborn streak as well as her competitive nature.

“We make literally everything into a competition,” said Walker, who finished in 11th place at the Vancouver Olympics four years ago. “All I’ll say is watch out if your in the aisles of Tesco and see me and John with a trolley!”

The will to succeed doesn’t just come in the form of winning medals as both Walker and Jackson refused to accept defeat in their battle to overcome the own injuries.

The focused was on getting to Sochi together – going alone was never an option.

“To be honest even with the John’s injury, our goal of going to the Games together never moved so I actually have never thought about being there without him,” she added.

“As for winning a medal, I think one for the household will be welcomed whoever brought it home - although two would be fantastic.”

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