Sochi 2014: Jenny Jones inspired by Grainger's rowing gold

By Nick HopeBBC Olympic sports reporter in Sochi
Cheers and tears as Jones wins bronze

In early 2012, when many British athletes were gearing up for a home Olympic Games in London, snowboarder Jenny Jones was considering retirement.

The former chalet maid, who self-funded her early career working in a cardboard factory and a doughnut shop, had achieved her career goal of becoming an X Games champion in 2009.

GB slopestyle snowboarder Jenny Jones' tips for beginners

Two further gold medals were secured in 2010, but after finishing second the following year the Bristol-born slopestyler began to believe her best years may now be behind her.

Slopestyle was accepted into the Winter Olympics for the Sochi Games on 4 July 2011, but Jones still needed a little convincing.

"I wanted to do it but I didn't know if my body could hold out that long," Jones, who won Winter Olympics bronze in Sochi on Sunday, told BBC Sport.

Watching the London Olympics - and specifically veteran rower Katherine Grainger - provided her with the final inspiration she needed.

Grainger, 36 at the time, secured a maiden Olympic gold after three successive silver medals dating back to the Sydney 2000 Games.

"I still get goose bumps thinking about her winning and knowing the story," said Jones. "She was willing to put it all on the line, it paid off and that was inspiring."

"She is in the slightly older bracket and I have a lot of respect for that because I am not exactly a spring chicken either and it was something I could relate to."

Jones' decision to pursue Sochi qualification ultimately brought its rewards, but two months before the Games it was feared her dream could be over after she suffered a serious concussion.

"The decision [to go to the Olympics] has nearly broken her," said BBC Sport commentator and Ski Sunday presenter Ed Leigh.

"She couldn't look at a computer, she couldn't talk to anyone, go to loud venues or look at a phone for three weeks.

"Time on snow before an Olympics is crucial but she came back, drew on all those years of experience and won an incredible Olympic medal."

Commentators go wild for Jones bronze

Jones' parents Helen and Peter, who surprised the snowboarder by meeting her in the post-race media mix-zone area, were full of praise for their daughter's achievements.

"The concussion was really bad and we had to get her to see all kinds of people [medical experts] to get her ready for this - they were brilliant," said Peter.

Helen added: "The Great Britain team have supported Jen with everything she has done.

"I can't thank them enough for everything - without that support she wouldn't be here today."

Jones herself, who became Team GB's first Winter Olympics medallist in a snow sport event - was simply relieved to come through the situation unscathed - and surpass her target.

"In December I had a tough time and I had to stay at home and not being on the snow was really tough, but I got through it," said Jones.

"I was aiming for the final and not thinking beyond that point and I am genuinely very proud of what I've achieved."

She has no immediate retirement plans and has talked of learning a "few more moves" before hanging up the snowboard for the final time.

Jones also plans to spend more time mentoring and coaching young athletes.

"I may be a bit older [than her team-mates] but hopefully I can inspire some of the kids to get involved," she said.

"I definitely want to get involved in the juniors and coaching and camps.

"I've always been interested in that but would love to do more. I feel I have snowboarding knowledge I can pass on."