Successful opening weekend for Bobsleigh and Skeleton teams in America

Britain has no track yet we are running with the top teams in the world. Coming into the opening rounds of the FIBT World Cup in both four man and two man bob’s, the excitement and expectation of the teams was high. Gary Anderson, performance director for GB Bobsleigh remarked that “we always said that top 8 is our aim at World Cups so have to be happy to exceed that. We have great staff, great athletes.” Bobsleigh is full of high class athletes that are full of explosive power. the sport is hi technology and with the likes of the Michael Johnson Performance Centre in Dallas, Texas helping the guys and girls to harness their undoubted power and speed, every hundredth counts.

With the start of each run being vital, the dry practice start that the team has at its base at the University of Bath is the basis of a lot of its training sessions. The set up is hugely professional and every person on the team knows their role and the expectations. Again Anderson commented after the what he thought of World Cup weekend. “Our aim is Sochi 2014 and our performance trajectory is set for then.”

After John jackson and his brakeman, John Baines posted 23rd best times in the two man in the opening race on 9 November the omens were not so great for the team. Twenty four hours later and the team were in great spirits as from a start of ten, the team made eighth best time on the first run and then moved up to seventh place overall. A great performance for a team that has to travel the world in order to get the best performances.

It is not just a world cup programme that GB Bobsleigh are running. The buzz word this summer seems to be legacy and under the guidance of Gary Anderson, the development of the next generation of athletes is there: “we are developing a great team ethos, World Cup, Americas Cup, Europa Cup everyone knows what the objective is, Sochi 2014, we are preparing for World Cup race in Lake Placid. Juniors are in Utah for Americas Cup and Europa Cup squad are in Germany.” It is all go.

This all costs money and the athletes need to help contribute to the running of their programmes. While UK Sport funding is forthcoming, the exposure on Eurosport for sponsors is vital. In an age of mobility, the package Eurosport provide for those people not able to watch on their television at home but have internet access is brilliant for fans wanting to watch these high octane and fascinating sports!

Paula Walker, Britain’s World Junior Champion and tipped for stardom in the sport with Gillian Cooke as her brakewoman, managed to take sixth in the opening round of the 2 man World Cup in Lake Placid. Cooke has tried to be a driver but has realised that the Olympics are too soon so the best chance for recreating the success that she had with Nicola Minichello, now retired is for het to push Walker. With Sochi the goal, it seems that things are on target.

The four man in the America’s Cup also pulled off an eighth place. The team consisting of Oliver Biddulph, Christopher Williams, Jordan Smallin and Richard Stead recovered from tenth after the first run to post the seventh fastest run on the second and this lifted them to eighth overall. On the second run they had the third fastest push start!

It has also been a successful start to the lower tier racers in the America’s Cup series in Park City. Mica McNeill and Amy Hill won a silver medal in the second race, matching that of Mica with Francis Slater as the brakeman in the first race. Success breeds success! After the silver medal for Mica McNeill and Jazmin Sawyers things are definitely looking up long term for the sport.
In the Skeleton Kristan Bromley finished 6th in the first race with Shelley Rudman taking seventh in the women’s race.