Serita Shone makes an emotional return to bobsleigh training

By Nick HopeBBC Olympic sports reporter

Serita Shone has pushed a bobsleigh for the first time - less than a year after being told she would not walk again.

Doctors feared the Briton, 23, might be paralysed after she fractured her spine in a horror crash last October.

But she has astounded friends, team members and medical experts by returning to action in Bath on Tuesday.

"Having come from not even knowing if I could touch my toes or run again, to being able to push a 155kg sled is amazing," said Shone.

"On the first run, I was actually quite nervous. I suppose it was the whole thing hanging over me that if I couldn't do this, then I couldn't ever see myself doing bobsleigh again.

"It's a big step in terms of me logistically being part of the team."

The Weymouth-based bobsleigher fractured her L1 and L2 vertebrae in her lower back in the crash that happened in Germany ahead of the 2011 British Championships.

Shone has been working with physiotherapists since the turn of the year and was allowed to start working with weights in June.

"If someone told me Serita would be back pushing a sled on the push track within a year, that would just never have been in the equation," GB Bobsleigh performance director Gary Anderson told BBC Sport.

"I walked into hospital in Germany and the doctors told me that Serita wouldn't walk again. I don't think they realised just how determined Serita is and what she has done is amazing."

Shone, a former heptathlete, will continue to split her time training at the universities of Bath and Loughborough.

There is a possibility she could make a return to an ice-track in early 2013, which means the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi remain a target.

"It is still an aim, but I've got to work very hard and keep improving to be in for a shout for that," said Shone.

"I'm still going to try, but I'm not oblivious to the fact that I need to be realistic and probably my long-term aim is 2018.

"If a spot for Sochi comes for me, then I'll quite happily take it and work my behind off to get there."

Anderson added: "Is 2014 too soon? Well, they said she wouldn't be walking again and we saw her here today."

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