TROWBRIDGE pilot John Jackson believes a medal at next year’s Sochi Winter Olympics has become a realistic prospect after an encouraging conclusion to his latest winter campaign.

Jackson’s GB1 sled exceeded expectations with a series of top 10 finishes including consecutive fifth places in the World Championships and the season-ending World Cup on the Olympic track.

The results have left Jackson heading into the short summer break brimming with confidence that he can put the challenging learning curve of the Vancouver Games well behind him.

Jackson said: “I always believed the team could win an Olympic medal but it was always something of a distant dream until now.

“If we keep improving I see no reason why we can’t win a medal.

“We said at the start of this season we needed to hit the top eight with more consistency and we have done that.

“We actually shocked ourselves with how well we did, and we are are in a good place for next year.”

Jackson, a sergeant in the Royal Marines who lives with GB1 women’s pilot Paula Walker in Paxcroft Mead, had a tough taste of the Games in 2010 when he overturned his sled. He now believes that chastening experience can stand him in good stead for Sochi.

He added: “In some ways my experience in Vancouver, even with the two crashes, helped get me where I am today.

“I took a lot of positives away in terms of my mental approach and now I know what the Olympics are all about, and how it is possible to shut everything out and make it just another week-in, week-out race. We have a great chance of doing well in Sochi and winning Great Britain’s first bobsleigh medal since 1998.

“Hopefully that would help raise the profile of the sport and pave the way for the next generation to continue the same success.”