By Rob Cole
If the Koreans win a medal in bobsleigh at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, then Wales will have very good reason to join in the celebrations.
Until his untimely death from cancer at the age of 68, Swansea-born Gomer Lloyd had been masterminding the bobsleigh programme for the host nation of his year’s winter Games. It was a role in which he was enjoying some success and to which he was well suited.
A four-time Olympian bobsleigh competitor for Great Britain, he went to a further eight Games as a coach and was involved with teams from Canada, Italy, Monaco, Russia, Great Britain as well as South Korea.
Born in Gorseinon in 1947, Lloyd quit his job as a miner to join The Queen’s Dragoon Guards (The Welsh Cavalry) in 1968. He made an impact as a tight head prop on the rugby field, but then turned his hand to bobsleigh and became an even bigger hit.
He represented Team GB over a 12-year period at the Olympics – Sapporo, Japan in 1972, Innsbruck, Austria in 1976, Lake Placid, USA in 1980 and Sarajevo, Yugoslavia in 1984 – before turning his hand to coaching.
Perhaps the pinnacle of his success as a coach was helping the British female pair of Nicola Minichiello and Gillian Cooke to strike gold at the 2009 World Championships in Lake Placid. He took over as the South Korean coach just before the 2014 Winter Olympics and in his last races as coach at the beginning of the 2015-16 season he helped them to win their first World Cup medals.
There were hopes of another Welsh bobsledder, Bruce Tasker, winning a medal in South Korea, but injury has prevented him from travelling. That leaves Micah Moore as the only Welsh hope in the bobsleigh competition.
But if the Koreans get on the podium then every Welshman and women will be able to puff out his or her chest and claim a tiny bit of glory thanks to the enduring influence of the larger than life Gomer Lloyd.
Here is a special tribute prepared to mark the passing of Gomer Lloyd.