JOHN Baines didn’t crack the top 20 in the two-man bobsleigh on his Winter Olympic debut but he insists he is making big strides in Sochi.
Baines placed 23rd with pilot Lamin Deen at the halfway stage on Sunday evening and moved neither up nor down as they finished in the same position.
Their third run was their best however by 0.16 seconds as they clocked 57.38 –although only the top 20 qualified for a fourth outing and so they missed out.
All is not lost however and the two-man was merely preparation for the four-man – indeed Baines was only called in once regular Craig Pickering got injured.
Baines must now wait until Saturday for that chance but his confidence after sampling the track is such that he believes the four-man can near the top ten.
“We have got better every time we have gone down. Every time Lamin has driven he has gotten faster,” said Baines, who acts as Deen’s brakeman.
“It just goes to show that after six training runs with Lamin every time we have pushed together we have got faster, it is great for the four-man.
“And in the four-man we will get an even better result. I think we can move six to eight places. We really are that confident.
“It is the first time we have ever been to a Games and Lamin is getting faster and better every time he is driving and we are pushing together.
“The other guys in the four man have just got here and they are ready to go. I think we can really shock some people in the four-man.”
Baines will join forces with Deen again in the four-man along with Ben Simons and an as yet unnamed replacement for Pickering, who was also due to compete.
And Baines insists that whatever happens that four-man team can be proud to represent Britain at the Games – given the advantage their rivals have over them.
“Some of the drivers that we are competing against have been competing since they were teenagers,” he added.
“So for someone like Lamin who picked it up in his late 20s to compete at the Olympics is fantastic and it has been fantastic.
“You always dream about going to the Olympics and now that we are here it still hasn’t hit home. It is just a fantastic experience all round.”
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