Jackson four-man bob in contention

Great Britain's team are in seventh place at the halfway stage

Great Britain's team are in seventh place at the halfway stage

First published in National Sport News © by

Great Britain bobsleigh pilot John Jackson stands just 0.18 seconds off a medal at the halfway stage of the Olympic four-man bobsleigh competition in Rosa Khutor on Saturday night.

Jackson, Britain's last chance of a medal at Sochi 2014, nailed the second fastest time of the second run to move up three places to an overnight position of seventh, and within touching distance of third-placed Maximilian Arndt of Germany.

Jackson was hampered by a start position of 12th in the first run, an order which is determined by the world rankings and tends to afford the fastest ice to the earlier crews.

But his solid second run drive - which was actually one hundredth of a second slower than his first at 55.27 - lifted him into contention, 0.34 seconds off leader Alexander Zubkov of Russia.

Jackson said: "We're still only three tenths off the lead - we're looking good.

"The problem is our start order which means as we've seen from training the first three or four guys are really quick then the ice starts to degrade and gets slower for each sled.

"The first run we made a couple of little mistakes and in the second run we just worked on those to try to tidy them up.

"We almost had identical times and I think that's what has pulled us up the order. We're within quite easy reach of the top four or five."

British alpine skier Dave Ryding was ''pretty gutted'' despite finishing 17th in the men's slalom.

The 27-year-old from Lancashire was in 27th place after his opening run and was aiming to push on from there.

A mistake at one of the gates towards the top of his second run stopped him from moving further up the leaderboard, although he was boosted by several top contenders crashing out and a couple of disqualifications afterwards.

While that meant he finished a respectable 17th with a combined time of one minute 45.91 seconds - 4.07secs adrift of gold medallist Mario Matt - he knew it could have been better.

''I'm pretty gutted,'' he said. ''I made a schoolboy error really. I knew about it, I knew what to do and I did the wrong thing.

''It could have been so much better but that's the way it goes.''

Ryding had the goal of getting into the top 30 after the first run so he would be able to use the course at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Center relatively early. After being fourth out of the gate second time around, he had the chance to make a real impression, but his struggles at the start cost him dear.

He said: ''Unfortunately I was on the receiving end of a kicking from the course, it wasn't my day in the end.''

With UK Sport not funding alpine skiers, Ryding has to go it alone and the slalom specialist does not believe his result in Sochi will be enough to turn that around.

''If I'd have nailed that second run, I think I could have achieved that, but it might not be good enough,'' he said.

''(Not being funded) doesn't help because I've got to do everything myself and it's just me and my coach on the road."

Austrian Matt moved into the history books as he became the oldest alpine skier to win an Olympic gold medal. Matt, 34 years and 319 days old, overtakes the record previously held by Norway's Kjetil Andre Aamodt, who was 34 years and 169 days when he triumphed in the men's super G at the Turin Games in 2006.

Pre-race favourite Marcel Hirscher of Austria took silver and Norwegian Henrik Kristoffersen earned bronze.

Ireland's Conor Lyne finished 40th out of 43 finishers, 31.45secs adrift of Matt.

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