Olympics: Cooke handed brake handle

EDINBURGH'S Gillian Cooke was named yesterday in Britain's Winter Olympic team as brakewoman in the two-woman bobsleigh, but she also learned that her driver, Nicola Minichiello, requires further eye surgery before next month's Vancouver Games.

The Sheffield pilot had a major scare last month after suddenly losing 80 per cent of her vision at a World Cup race in Italy. Her condition is similar to that endured a couple of years ago by Manchester United player Paul Scholes and, although she has since recovered most of her sight, she needs one more operation before the Olympics.

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"I had two days of surgery which enabled us to go back on the ice and finish our qualification for the Olympics, and now I've got laser surgery to get rid of the fluid," she explained.

Former Edinburgh Academy pupil Andy Noble, who spent over a year on the sidelines with injury, has been named in the Alpine skiing team and will contest the giant slalom.

Noble said: "I hope to contend for a top-twenty position."