Winter sports crown for former A&C winger
BARELY five years ago he was treading the muddy rugby fields of the London Leagues – now Jerry Rice is a world champion skeleton slider.
The 26-year-old grew up playing rugby for Amersham & Chiltern, where his two brothers, Dominic and Johnny, still play in the first and second XVs, respectively.
But having developed a love of winter sports after two seasons sliding the famous Cresta run in St Moritz, Switzerland, Rice contacted British Skeleton and competed for his country for the first time in Lillehammer in late 2012.
Having bagged four podium places, Rice finished second in the 201415 Europa Cup standings and has now gone one better by winning the IBSF Intercontinental Cup.
Finishing fifth in the final race at Lake Placid, New York State on Friday, Rice’s results in the previ- ous races were enough for the High Wycombeborn athlete to be named men’s champion.
His career is still followed closely by his old teammates back at Amersham & Chiltern, according to the club’s first-team manager, Charles OwenConway.
“We are all very proud of what Jerry has achieved, not least his two brothers, who still play for us,” said the A&C manager. “Jerry was a winger, just like Dominic, who is just breaking through to the first-team, whereas Johnny plays in the back row or second row.
“I don’t think [Jerry’s] played rugby since taking up the skeleton, but he used to do a lot of his fitness and training work down at the club. He was always quick, but a lot of what the skeleton is about is refinining your sprint style and getting off to an explosive start.
“A lot of skeleton and bobsleigh athletes tend to cross over to it from other sports, usually from sprinting more than rugby though.”
Top of the world: IBSF Intercontinental Cup skeleton champion Jerry Rice used to play for Amersham & Chilton RFC, inset.