From achilles rupture to Olympic glory in 7 months – John Jackson Team GB Bobsleigh


Here is a great plot for a sports adventure film – an athlete is training hard for winter Olympic glory – the games are a mere 7 months away. But then disaster strikes – he suffers a bad Achilles rupture.  His only chance of recovering and competing in the timeframe is choosing pioneering surgery, (although no one is quite sure of the rehab protocols). The athlete takes a chance, gets to the games and his team finishes a respectable fifth. But wait there’s always a twist! Two Russian teams are later disqualified for doping and five years later our hero is handed his rightful bronze medal. Far fetched? Not at all – this all happened to serving Royal Marine and former Team GB Bobsleigh pilot John Jackson.

John joins us in this incredible episode to talk us through his remarkable journey from his initial devastation at the thought his Olympic journey was over to choosing the surgery with Prof Mackay that was then in its infancy but potentially offered him his only chance of a return to fitness in the tight timeframe available. He also chats over his rehab and how he and his support team felt their way through his recovery.  

Much of bobsleigh training is about building explosive pushing power in athletes and John remembers that the signs of fatigue, in hindsight, were there the day of his injury. Prof Mackay explains more about the Achilles tendon, surgical options after injury, and how you can protect your own Achilles health. 

We also have a very entertaining chat with John, who is still a serving Royal Marine, about what it takes to hurtle down an icy mountainside in a ‘bathtub’ at 90 miles an hour! Funnily enough, neither Jennifer or Prof Mackay fancy signing up any time soon even for the film version! 


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