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Thursday, 24 January, 2002, 12:30 GMT

In the spotlight

British bob skeleton star Alex Coomber tells BBC Sport Online about the pressures of being in the spotlight ahead of the Winter Olympics.

The World Cup win was great, but it's now in the past.

All eyes are on the Olympics from now on - and don't I know it.

The phone has hardly stopped ringing and everyone wants their pound of flesh.

People ask for two minutes when they mean 10, and 10 when they mean an hour.

Instead of getting down to some really good training, I've had three days totally devoted to the media.

It's a case of squeezing a few hours in at the local gym whenever possible.

But I can't complain - on two counts.

The attention is something that I knew would happen and it's just a case of getting it done, getting it out of the way and moving on.

"Imagine going at 100kmph and hitting a mattress - that's St Moritz"
Alex Coomber

Blue Peter, the One O'clock News, the newspapers... it's all an experience.

Not many people get the chance to go to the Olympics in any way, shape or form, so it's a matter of making the most of it.

The attention also means that my body has had a chance to recover from a few bumps and bruises - but nothing too serious.

Although my mind hasn't lingered too long on the World Cup win, it seems that my body has a bit.

A cut on my chin that needed stitches, a pulled muscle in my arm and a pair of battered knees from the finish at St Moritz.

If you imagine going at 100kmph on a sled on ice and hitting a mattress, that's the end at St Moritz.

It stops you, but you haven't a clue where you're going to end up.

The sled twisted and I got spun into the wall and pulled some skin off my knees - but as I say, all small things really, surface stuff.

Listing injuries is not the best way to make a case for the sport being safe, but it is - honest.

"It's the little things that make a difference"
Alex Coomber

In five years all I've really got to show for it is five stitches, for the cut on my chin, and this season nobody broke a bone on the skeleton circuit.

Between now and going off to the holding camp in Calagary it's a case of fielding the press, getting on with the normal stuff and saying a few goodbyes.

My sisters are coming out to the Games but one family member who can't make it is Foggy.

Our dog - named after Carl Fogarty, a man who can point to numerous sporting injuries - is going to be staying with friends for the month that we are away.

He has stayed there before and is at home there - I wouldn't want to put him in kennels.

Although it may seem minor, it's the little things that make a difference at times like this and if I'm going to be totally at ease, knowing he's happy is important.

Peace of mind and peace and quiet.

That's what Calagary will be after the last week and I must admit, it will be a relief.


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