Lee back at Olympics - as British bobsleigh coach

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A BOBSLEIGH team coached by Whitby’s three-time Winter Olympian Lee Johnston is preparing to take part in its first Youth Winter Olympic Games bobsleigh competition this weekend.

Speaking exclusively to Whitby Gazette sports editor Duncan Atkins this week from Innsbruck, Lee said Great Britain’s youngsters have three sleds racing on Sunday - the final day of the games in the Austrian city.

“I genuinely think that if all goes well, we have a good chance at getting at least one medal, hopefully two,” he said.

“All my three teams have stood on the podium in the qualification process.”

The two female and one men’s team, all aged 16-18, began training on Wednesday night, eager to impress on the big day.

Lee (39) said 12 athletes from all over the country tried out for the teams and competed at the level needed for the Youth Olympic programme.

“We had a qualification process of four races in Igls, Austria and also another two races in Winterberg, Germany (where Great Britain’s Serita Shone crashed and broke her back in October).

“We are now in Innsbruck and have just seen an amazing opening ceremony where Jacgues Rogge, the president of the International Olympics Committee, opened the games.”

Highlights on the red button from 7-8pm every evening and there will be a show on BBC on 28 January with all the highlights.

Lee is currently still in the Marines but leaves in four months after 22 years’ service.

Following his dramatic exclusion from the last Great Britain bobsleigh team bound for Vancouver two years ago, Lee had been asked by the new bobsleigh performance director last year to take a coaching role for the British bobsleigh team and he jumped at the chance.

“I think I did a good job as he asked me back this year to be the head coach for the Youth Olympic Games programme and the younger development of Great Britain bobsleigh,” Lee added.