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Narracott sliding to emulate her uncle

12 June 2013

When Jaclyn Narracott told her friends she was taking up the sport of skeleton there was a common reaction: - “They all thought I was nuts!”

When you are travelling head first at 125 kilometres an hour down what Narracott describes as an “icy water slide” you can understand why. For the 22-year-old it is all part of the goal to follow in the footsteps of her famous uncle.

Paul Narracott was the first, and so far only Australian to compete at both a Summer and Winter Olympic Games. He ran in the men’s 100m and 200m at the Los Angeles Games in 1984 before participating in the two-man bobsleigh at Albertville 1992.

“As long as I can remember I’ve always wanted to emulate what he’s done,” Narracott said. “The biggest piece of advice I’ve got from him is to make sure I have fun because if you’re not enjoying it there is no point.”

It’s been a whirlwind couple of years for Narracott who took her first ride on a skeleton sled in March 2012. Growing up in Brisbane she tried dancing, track and field and football before joining the Australian bobsleigh squad in Europe in 2011. It was there she met the national skeleton coaches who convinced her to make the switch.

“The feeling when it goes right is incredible. You’re just flying down the mountain,” the self-confessed thrill-seeker said.

It hasn’t always gone right for Narracott, with a number of injuries throughout her sporting career threatening to derail her dream.

“I’ve had my ACL reconstructed, numerous hamstring injuries, ankles,” she said.

 It was during these times she drew strength from cyclist Anna Meares, who recovered from a broken neck to win silver in Beijing and then her second Olympic gold in London last year.

“She’s gone through so many injuries yet she’s still the best in the world,” Narracott said.

Ranked fourth amongst the Australian sliders, Narracott is sitting just outside the top 50 in the world. To qualify for the Winter Olympics in Sochi next year she’ll need to be in the top two in Australia.

Australia has great depth in women’s skeleton racing with 2006 Olympian Michelle Steele, 2010 Olympian Melissa Hoar and Lucy Chaffer all regularly in the world top 15. However Narracott has shown great potential and is staying positive about the exciting season ahead while realistic about her chances.

With no sliding course in Australia, Narracott will be using her local athletics track and ice rink in Brisbane to train for the northern hemisphere season. From October she’ll be chasing top results to aid her selection both in North America and Europe.

While repeating her uncle’s success would be great, Jaclyn has her sights set even higher.

“I want to go one better and actually medal.”

Luke Dufficy

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