Outspent Aussies reassess the goal
AFTER recruiting high-profile hurdler Jana Pittman in an attempt to be among the top teams at Sochi, former Sunshine Coast resident Astrid Radjenovic concedes she has had to lower her goals.
Radjenovic, 31, finished 14th and 19th at the 2006 and 2010 Games respectively and had held high hopes of being among the better teams in Russia.
She admits, however, she and Pittman are unlikely to be among the frontrunners.
"We hoped that a top-six finish was possible, but after assessing the field this season we see that some teams have just pulled so far ahead in their level of equipment," she said.
"Now we hope we can just try and equal or better our season-best of 12th.
"Given our small resources compared with all the other teams, we are just proud to have qualified with a solid World Cup ranking and be beating a couple of strong teams each week."
A former world 400m hurdles champion on the track, Pittman created plenty of hype when she switched to the sled.
"I knew when I called Jana 18 months or so ago to try (two-woman) bobsleigh that it would spark some interest in the sport," three-time Olympian Rajdenovic said.
"However, I recruited her purely for her potential. I wanted a chance to really succeed in this sport after all these years. I knew my driving ability, combined with her pushing for me, could be successful."
Radjenovic, who lived on the Coast from 2008-10 before relocating to Brisbane, said her new teammate had adjusted well to the ice and was still improving.
"It is intense for any new athlete who I recruit into the sport to learn the ropes and have to deal with the huge workload we have logistically, physically and emotionally every day on tour," she said.
"Jana has dealt well with the workload and always tried to pull her weight in the team.
"We work constantly on making improvements to our start as Jana is only in her second season. Luckily she has a lot of raw athletic talent, so when we get the technical aspects right, we can do some really solid push starts."