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Monday, 4 February, 2002, 09:16 GMT

Coomber relieved after scare

British bob skeleton star Alex Coomber tells BBC Sport Online about a pre-Olympic crash - and why she misses a special friend.

Training has been going well, although I had a little scare when I crashed during a run.

I was travelling at 65mph at the time but, thankfully, I wasn't injured.

It is a particularly difficult bend and in all the times I have gone down the track, I haven't yet done that bend perfectly.

I have also been involved in an Olympic send-off race, where I was competing against some of my main rivals in Salt Lake City.

One of them was the Russian Katerina Miratova but I won easily, more than one-and-a-half seconds ahead of her, which surprised me.

"I am desperately missing my dog Fogarty"
Coomber talks about her pet

She has one of the quickest starts in the world and she has beaten me on this track before so I was expecting a tougher fight.

But I was pleased with my good performance though.

It is now less than three weeks until my skeleton event at the Winter Olympics but it hasn't sunk in yet that it is the Olympics.

I think it will when I head down to the opening ceremony on Friday - it is going to be awesome.

Although I've been doing a lot of track and off-track training, it is important for my mental preparation to be able to switch off too.

So I really enjoy it when I have time off to relax.

I've been shopping with my husband Eric in Calgary and looking around the city too.

It is just nice to behave like normal human beings and forget about the Olympics for a little while.

"If someone else has the ride of their life and pips me - there's nothing I can do about it."
Coomber on her gold medal chances

Although I am enjoying being here, I am desperately missing my dog, Fogarty.

He is a one-year-old boxer dog and named after my sporting hero, former superbike champion Carl Fogarty.

A neighbour of ours in Somerset, artist Alce Harfield is looking after him and I've been on the phone a few times, talking to the dog!

I'd say I'm about 92% fit at the moment and the aim is to be 100% fit, both mentally and physically, by 20 February.

There is a lot of pressure on me because I aim Britain's main medal hope but all I can say is that I will do my very best on the day.

If it results in a gold medal that's great, but if someone else has the ride of their life and pips me, there's nothing I can do about it.

We'll just have to wait and see.


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