Olympic whirlwind for Redcliffe family

Published 12:20pm 18 February 2022

Olympic whirlwind for Redcliffe family
Words by Nick Crockford

Sitting on a Redcliffe apartment balcony, overlooking Moreton Bay, Jaclyn Narracott was a world away from the Winter Olympic Games.

But, the 31-year-old still wore her historic Olympic silver medal, while watching TV coverage from Beijing, cheering on friends and team-mates.

Five days after winning Australia’s first Olympic medal in the skelelton (racers lay face down on a sled, with no brakes or suspension, hurtling along a banked, ice track at up to 130km/h)  Narracott was in demand.

It has been a whirlwind of television, radio, online and print media interviews, TV shows and pictures of Narracott and her parents, Roger and Cheryl, who live on the Peninsula.

'Enormity of it all'

A Channel 7 TV camera was set-up in the Narracott's apartment during Jaclyn's skeleton races, focussed on her parents, who have also appeared on the Sunrise  breakfast show.

Cheryl was filmed having her nails painted Aussie green and the whole family - including nephew Hudson who met Jaclyn for the first time - was photographed at Brisbane airport when Narracott arrived home on Tuesday.

It was her first time back home since October 2019 due to training and COVID. The pandemic also ended Roger and Cheryl's plans to see their daughter compete.

“My head is still spinning a bit,” Jaclyn said, “it is taking a while to sink in. 

"It’s not finishing second, it’s the race result and what that means. The enormity of it all. It was history in multiple ways.”

Narracott was the first Australian to win an Olympic skeleton medal clocking 4 minutes 8.24 seconds over four runs in Beijing, where temperatures fell to -20 degrees Centigrade.

Olympic whirlwind for Redcliffe family

Quick run

It was also Australia’s first Olympic medal in a sliding (skeleton, luge and bobsled) events and Narracott's silver took the nation's Winter Olympic medal tally in Beijing to a record single Games high of four.

Skeleton winner Hannah Neise (4:07.62) was the first German woman to win gold in the event and bronze medalist Kimberley Box (4:08.46) the first Dutch racer to medal in skeleton.

“I knew where I was sitting (in the competition), but didn’t know the (time) gaps,” Narracott said. However, she did know her last run of 1:02.11 was “quick”.

“The clock was a hundred metres over the next rise and when I saw the time it was just pure elation. Then reality kicked in and I thought … did I actually do what I think I did?

Tears of joy

“That’s when the tears came into it.

“I saw Kim (Bos) and gave her the biggest hug … and one of my mates from Canada. Without her I would not have survived this season.”

Unfortunately, Narracott’s lead was short-lived with Neise then taking gold by just 0.62 of a second.

“As soon as she finished we had eight minutes until the medal ceremony," Narracott said, "I was being pulled in four different directions, making sure I had the right kit.

“Now I always know exactly where the medal is. In Beijing it did not come off my neck for the entire day afterwards, except when I was showering!”

Olympic whirlwind for Redcliffe family

Sprint family

Narracott grew up in Bracken Ridge, going to Norris Rd State School and Sandgate High School. 

She started as a sprinter with Bracken Ridge Little Athletics, reaching state level with a dream of competing at the summer Olympics.

Her Uncle Paul Narracott achieved exactly that running the 100m and 200m at Los Angeles in 1984 before he switched to bobsled for Albertville in 1992.

Jaclyn made the same move after she was invited to try bobsled, where explosive sprint starts are crucial, and 10 years ago became hooked on skeleton.

Proper job!

Now based in the UK with husband and coach Dom Parsons, Narracott has to go to Europe to train on ice. Otherwise, it is in the gym and on athletics tracks.

There have been injuries, including bad concussion, but years of hard work and sacrifice paid off in January when Narracott won her first World Cup event at St Moritz, in Switzerland.

However, thoughts of an Olympic medal were still fleeting, until Saturday February 12, 2022 in Beijing!

Narracott plans to continue in the sport, but will first go back to the UK and look for "a proper job!"

She also hopes her remarkable medal will inspire others in the skeleton. “I don’t want this to end with me,” she said.


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