Need to train for an upcoming outdoor Olympic competition, but COVID restrictions are forcing you to shelter in place? Well, if your sport happens to be bobsled and your place happens to be an indoor ski slope, that just might be doable.
Perhaps you remember Jamaica’s national bobsled team for pushing a Mini Cooper convertible around earlier this year as a conditioning exercise. If that sounds like a stunt straight out of “Cool Runnings,” well, that’s pretty much the idea. Now, they’re doing it in isolation, within the safe confines of an indoor skiing facility in the UK.
Evidently, they’re still at it, only now they appear to have better corporate sponsorship (note the Jamaican flag livery on their spankin’ new ‘vert) and a pandemic-friendly training venue as they undergo conditioning at the UK’s largest indoor slope at The Snow Centre, Hemel Hempstead, ahead of the World Championships in Lake Placid, New York, in February.
“This second lockdown has been even harder on our training,” said team pilot Shanwayne Stephens. “Matt [Wilson] and Dy’Neal [Fe’ssal] are new to the team so we’re focusing on gelling together as a team and getting them up to speed – they have never been in a bobsled or even seen one yet!”
“Pushing the MINI here may seem like a bit of fun but this has been an important exercise, just being on ice is completely different to training in the summer – the toll on your body is entirely different and you use energy in different ways,” Stephens said. “The Snow Centre is only -3 degrees [27 degrees Farenheit], that’s pretty mild compared to what we’re normally in, and they’re already complaining about the cold!”
Lake Placid is just the next step toward qualification for the Beijing 2022 Winter Games.