Tasker to lead bobsleigh team in Beijing

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August 24, 2021
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    Bruce TaskerBruce Tasker switched from a career in athletics to bobsleigh in 2010

    Winter Olympics bronze medallist Bruce Tasker will be team leader for the British Bobsleigh programme for Beijing 2022.

    The role will involve Tasker leading the team throughout the duration of the Games and overseeing the elite programme in February in China.

    Tasker won Olympic bronze in Sochi, Russia, in 2014 but retired in 2018 after suffering a stroke.

    "I'm excited to be back involved," said Tasker.

    The Welshman made more than 100 appearances for Great Britain over a seven-year career and won World Cup and European Championship medals.

    His Olympic podium position in Sochi was part of a four-man team alongside John Jackson, Stu Benson and Joel Fearon.

    The quartet had initially finished fifth but two Russians crews were later banned and, once the decision was upheld, Great Britain were upgraded to third and officially handed the bronze medal in November 2019.

    Tasker, 33, missed out on competing at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang after suffering a stroke a month before the Games and he was forced to retire in October that year.

    Tasker has since coached with the Royal Navy and several GB teams last season.

    "The depth of ability and athleticism within the squads is the highest standard I have ever seen," said Tasker.

    "Since funding was withdrawn, it's been a tough few years for the sport, with the athletes having to source funding and plan their own seasons.

    "I hope to take some of that burden away to allow teams to focus on performance at the Olympic Games in Beijing."

    With bobsleigh losing funding from UK Sport in July 2018, Tasker has taken on the responsibility voluntarily.

    He will work closely with coaching staff employed by individual crews in order to get the best out of the entire squad.

    His duties will also include managing all areas of the Olympic team's wider preparation before confronting the Games.

    "Nothing radical needs to be done," Tasker added.

    "The athletes are all experienced and have been training with Beijing as the focus for three years already."

    The new team leader will also have the full-time support of fellow Welshman Mark Silva, who joined the British Bobsleigh and Skeleton Association (BBSA) on a two-year secondment from the Royal Airforce. Silva will assist with the development arm of the programme.

    "Bruce is well respected by athletes and coaches in Great Britain and across the world and he has a great knowledge of the sport," said BBSA chair Joanna Poulton.

    "He is well respected by athletes and coaches in Great Britain and across the world and has a great knowledge of the sport.

    "Bruce enjoyed a stellar career as an athlete and, although he is relatively new to coaching and management, he has already had a significant impact since his appointment was announced internally."

    Source

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