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Thursday, 17 January, 2002, 09:45 GMT

On top of the world

British bob skeleton star Alex Coomber tells BBC Sport Online about her third World Cup victory in a row as she prepares to go for gold at Salt Lake City.

Well, I'm just back from Switzerland and I'm still taking in the fact that I have won the World Cup again... even if it was just by a single point.

It's quite a difficult track at St Moritz and it wasn't one that suits me at all.

It's got a long straight at the beginning, while I'm much better on bends and the actual race was a bit of a nightmare.

I put in my worst two runs of the week and I was going far better in training.

"I'm pleased to have won the World Cup again, but if you ask me whether I'd swap it for Olympic gold... the answer would have to be yes"
Alex Coomber

On the first run I hit the wall and got stuck in a skid, but I came through OK in the end.

I'd got it into my head that I had to beat Maya Pedersen in the second run to stay top and when she came down fourth to my fifth place, I thought I'd blown it.

When we looked at the results again, I realised I'd finished up a point in front and that was obviously enough.

I'd have preferred a better performance and I was fed up with myself after the race, but to get a hat-trick of wins must be some kind of British winter sports record and I've got to be pleased with that.

No picnic

It's tough work being a skeleton bob athlete. We do weights, sprints, circuits and in addition to all that there is the ice training on a proper track.

I generally get my actually race training during the World Cup and pre-season races.

A lot of my other preparation is mental, because going down the track at 80mph requires your mind to be very focused. I also spend a lot of the time learning the track.

Then there's the G-force. I can't say that while I've been in the RAF, I've used any of the facilities to help me with those pressures.

Come to think of it, I don't think any of the athletes use such facilities, because you can't replicate the feeling you have while racing.

Main rivals

Although I've been top dog the past two years, it's not going to be easy for me at the Olympics.

There are four other girls who could win it - Maya Pedersen of Switzerland, Steffi Hanslik of Germany, American Tristan Gale and Russian Ekaterina Mironova.

I'm going to the British training camp in Calgary at the end of January and that will give me time to acclimatise and get over jet lag as I prepare for Salt Lake.

I've met a few of the British team a few times, but our circuits don't tend to cross that much, so I don't think I will see much of them.

At this moment in time I just want to get there. It's close enough for me to get quite excited now.

I'm pleased to have won the World Cup again, but if you ask me whether I'd swap it for Olympic gold... the answer would have to be yes.


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