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Sunday, 17 February, 2002, 02:03 GMT

Coomber ready for the big test

British gold medal hope Alex Coomber tells BBC Sport Online's Anna Thompson about her final Olympic preparations.

Alex Coomber is fast becoming Britain's best hope for a medal - of any colour.

The 28-year-old triple World Cup champion is odds-on favourite for a gold medal in the skeleton at Salt Lake City.

But she is certainly not counting her chickens.

Coomber told BBC Sport Online: "All I can do is control the controllables, my equipment and my performance.

"I'm not here to save the British team but it would be great for Britain if I did win"
Alex Coomber

"I will get nervous, I always do but I turn this nervous energy into something positive.

"Generally, the bigger the race, the better I do."

Coomber said she feels under no pressure to perform for Team GB.

She said: "I'm not doing this for the team. I am doing it for me.

"I'm not here to save the British team but it would be great for Britain if I did win."

Coomber was one of the last athletes to leave the holding camp in Calgary and is now enjoying life in the Olympic Village.

She will take to the skeleton track in Salt Lake City for the first time on Sunday and will have three training days until her event at 1600GMT on Wednesday.

Coomber has won on this track before and has beaten all her rivals on it.

She added: "I know I can win a gold but there are other women who think the same thing."

Her main rivals will be Switzerland's Maya Pedersen and Canada's Michelle Kelly.

Coomber said: "As soon as I step on the ice I want to beat Pedersen and she wants to finish ahead of me.

"But off the track we are really good friends. We have been having meals together in the Olympic Village."

The RAF officer also revealed she hardly ever notices the crowd when she competes.

She said: "At the Goodwill Games, I was told there were 10,000 people watching but I didn't even notice one of them.

"I sometimes notice the noise though. On occasions I do listen to my start time as I'm jumping on the sled!"

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