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Tuesday, 5 February, 2002, 08:19 GMT

Tragedy sours Davies' bid

By BBC Sport Online's Anna Thompson in Calgary

Brave British bobsledder Jackie Davies has had to come to terms with a family tragedy while she prepares for the Winter Olympics.

Her father George died from a heart attack less than a week before Davies was set to fly to the Team GB holding camp in Calgary, Canada.

Davies stayed in Britain for the funeral before flying out to meet her team-mates a day later.

She told BBC Sport Online: "It has been a difficult few weeks.

"My father's death came as such a shock. He had never suffered from any heart problems and it was out of the blue."

"I know he will be watching me on 19 February and he will have the best seat in the house"
Jackie Davies

Mr Davies, 58, collapsed and died in Wavertree, Liverpool, on 5 January.

He had just arranged his trip to Salt Lake City to cheer on his daughter in the two-women bobsleigh.

His daughter, who is a technician in the Royal Signals Regiment, contemplated pulling out of the Games, but she decided to take part in honour of her late father.

Davies, who is brakewoman in the GB2 team, said: "He was really looking forward to the Olympics and was so proud that I had been selected.

"Originally he wasn't going to come because he couldn't afford it.

"But he managed to get the money together and he was so excited.

Shocked

"I want to do the Olympics for him. He would not have wanted me to withdraw and would have been so proud of me.

"I know he will be watching me on 19 February and he will have the best seat in the house."

Adam Pengilly, assistant coach of the women's bobsleigh team, said the squad had seen Mr Davies a week before his death, when he watched his daughter during Olympic selection trials.

Pengilly said: "We were all shocked to hear George had died. Jackie has coped remarkably well and we have all been trying to support her at this sad time."


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