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Gillian Cooke

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Gillian Cooke
Personal information
Born3 October 1982 (1982-10-03) (age 41)
Medal record
Representing  Great Britain
World Championships
Gold medal – first place 2009 Lake Placid Two-woman
European Championships
Bronze medal – third place 2009 St. Moritz Two-woman

Gillian Cooke (born 3 October 1982) is a Scottish track and field athlete and bobsledder. She was born and brought up in Edinburgh, and educated at George Watson's College. She began her sporting career in track and field with Edinburgh Southern Harriers. In 2001, she took fourth place in the triple jump at the Commonwealth Youth Games, and set a Scottish junior record for the pole vault. She set three Scottish senior records in the pole vault in two months in 2002, and was selected to represent Scotland in that event at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester.[1]

In 2003, she also began competing in the long jump, and took the silver medal at the AAA championships. She began concentrating on the long jump in 2004, earning GB selection in that event in 2005. She represented Scotland in the long jump at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, finishing eleventh.[2] She also topped the Scottish 100 m sprint rankings[3] and British 60 metres rankings.[4]

Following a foot injury which delayed her track and field training, Cooke joined driver Nicola Minichiello in the two-woman bobsleigh as brakewoman following a trial in October 2008.[5] Minichiello and Cooke won the gold medal in the two-woman event at the FIBT World Championships 2009 in Lake Placid, New York. The pair finished seventh at the same event in St Moritz in 2010, despite some difficulty with Cooke's prototype racing suit, which split open in the seat, seconds before the start of her bobsleigh run.[6][7] At the 2010 Winter Olympics, they crashed out during the third run of the two-woman event and did not start the final run as a result.

Following Minichiello's retirement from the sport, Cooke became brakewoman for Paula Walker, Minichiello's successor as British no. 1 driver.[8] Rebekah Wilson replaced Cooke as Walker's partner and took the GBR1 slot for Sochi in 2014.[9] Following her non-selection Cooke retired from bobsleigh and returned to athletics, attempting to obtain selection for the Scottish team in the long jump at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. However, she did not make the squad after she achieved the qualifying standard once, rather than twice as required, although her second longest jump was only 3 cm short of the standard.[10]


  1. ^ "Commonwealth Games 2002 - Statistics". BBC News.
  2. ^ Commonwealth Games - Athletics: Long jump. BBC News. 22 March 2006.
  3. ^ Gillian Cooke biography Archived 22 January 2010 at the Wayback Machine, www.teamminichiello.co.uk
  4. ^ "Cooke given 60m chance in Glasgow". BBC News. 18 January 2007.
  5. ^ "Scots bobsleigher's Games dilemma" BBC News. 24 February 2009.
  6. ^ Satherley, Jessica (19 January 2010). "British female bobsleigh rider's spandex bum flash is a YouTube hit". Metro. Retrieved 4 August 2021.
  7. ^ Gillian Cooke Female UK Bobsleigh team splits her pants xD, archived from the original on 15 December 2021, retrieved 4 August 2021
  8. ^ Sutherland, Sandy (18 February 2012). "Bobsleigh: Gillian Cooke back in team after injury hell". Edinburgh Evening News. Retrieved 10 March 2012.
  9. ^ Rose, Neil (9 October 2013). "Rebekah Wilson to partner Paula Walker in British Bobsleigh's lead team". The Bath Chronicle. Archived from the original on 25 February 2014. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
  10. ^ Gillon, Doug (1 November 2014). "Cooke puts winter plans on ice to get herself back on track . . ". HeraldScotland.com. Retrieved 22 January 2015.