Laura Deas Slips Back Behind Bruce Tasker In Re-run Race To Be First Welsh Medal Winner

Laura Deas’ reign as Wales’ first Winter Olympic medalist has been short-lived after the International Olympic Committee confirmed that Britain’s four-man bobsleigh quartet from the 2014 Sochi Games have officially been upgraded to the bronze medal.

Deas slid her way to a bronze medal in the skeleton in Pyeongchang, South Korea, last year to become the first Welsh athlete to win a medal at the Winter Olympics.

But that historic achievement has now been matched by Bruce Tasker.

The former Welsh international athlete from Pembrokeshire, who was due to compete in Pyeongchang before suffering from a stroke, joined John Jackson, Stuart Benson and Joel Fearon in originally finishing fifth in Sochi, just 0.11 off third place.

Now, the disqualification of the athletes in both Russian sleds that finished ahead of them – for doping offences – means that the British crew are officially Olympic medallists.

The confirmation also means that Latvia are now the official gold medallists with the USA given silver.

The bronze brings Team GB’s medal total from Sochi 2014 to five after Lizzy Yarnold’s skeleton gold, Jenny Jones winning snowboard slopestyle bronze, and silver and bronze medals for the men’s and women’s curling rinks.

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It means Sochi 2014 joins Pyeongchang as Britain’s most successful Winter Olympics with five medals.

Russian athletes from the Games were originally investigated following publication of the McLaren Report in 2016 with athletes from both sleds disqualified in November 2017. The decision was then upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The British Olympic Association will now work with the athletes to decide when and where to award them their bronze medals.

“Recognition from the IOC of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic four-man bobsleigh result is a big step forward to us receiving our Olympic bronze medal. Disappointingly, it is a medal we should have received on an Olympic podium in 2014,” said Jackson.

Mike Hay, Team GB’s Chef de Mission from Sochi 2014 and Pyeongchang 2018 said: “John, Stuart, Bruce and Joel have waited over five years for official confirmation for what I’m sure they’ve known all along.

“Their patience and dignity throughout this time is to their huge credit and it’s incredibly pleasing to finally be able to refer to them all as Olympic bronze medallists.”

Deas has suffered concussion and whiplash injuries this season that have curtailed her participation in competition.

The Wrexham athlete pulled out of the skeleton world championships in Canada this month and also withdrew from the opening round the World Cup in Latvia in December.

 

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