Jackie Narracott’s mad dash from a bad concussion to an unlikely Olympic silver | Winter Olympics
Through a skeletal career nearly derailed by a lack of funding and a severe concussion, Jackie Narracott found a way to win Australia’s most unlikely Olympic medal.
Steven Bradbury became part of folklore with his gold medal heroism in speed skating while Chloe Esposito snatched a surprise gold medal in the modern pentathlon, but Narracott won a silver medal in a sport where the australia has no facilities or training program in mind.
The 31-year-old, who hasn’t been home to Queensland since 2019, finished second behind Germany’s Hannah Neise.
She made history by winning Australia’s first Olympic sliding medal, and it’s the first time Australia has won four medals at a Winter Games.
Team chef de mission Geoff Lipshut admitted he thought he would never see a slippery Australian medal, with Narracott finishing 16th in PyeongChang.
“We actually tried to run a skeleton program from 2006 to 2014 and we actually didn’t get the results and that’s why Jackie is so outstanding,” Lipshut said Sunday from Zhangjiakou.
“She found a way to do something really amazing.”
Narracott competed in her first World Cup in 2014 and said it was a difficult and expensive task to get to her silver medal, estimating she contributed at least $100,000.
Luckily she is coached by her husband Brit Dom Parsons, who won a bronze medal in skeleton at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games, and is now bragging rights.
“I was very lucky that the OWI [Australia’s Olympic Winter Institute] helped me over the last four years and helped me get a partnership with Canada and fund a good part of my season.
“Before that, I had plenty of credit cards that ran out and mum and dad’s bank. The gear was the hardest part, but having Dom by my side was the best thing.
She also had to recover from a severe concussion that nearly ended her career in 2018.
“I hit my head in my first race in Calgary after PyeongChang,” she said. “After that I was slow to respond to friends, super emotional, then St Moritz, which is the best track in the world, made me dizzy, which shouldn’t happen.
“I went back to Bath and was walking around town and felt drunk and ended up doing six months of concussion rehab. What scared me the most was the first run because the consequences were that if I got on the sled and felt dizzy, it was over.
A turning point in her career came last month when she became the first Australian to win a slippery World Cup.
“I finally gave up the need for a medal about a week and a half before St Moritz arrived,” said Narracott.
“I realized my career wasn’t going to be any worse or better if I finally got that medal and of course once I gave it up it happened.
“There’s still that belief, but getting some concrete evidence has been a bit of a game-changer.”
She said her uncle, Paul Narracott, who was the first Australian to compete in both the Summer and Winter Olympics, paved the way for her success.
And she hoped she could do the same for the other girls who liked to “go headfirst down a waterslide.”
“I wish it didn’t end with me, I desperately wish other girls would get in there,” she said. “We need the girls to try it out now and I wish there was funding to get them on a sled.”