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End of season Bobsleigh

The official word came through and the men’s bob team made it through. We are allowed to send 4 guys from the team to the Olympics.
The team worked hard all year and not without its trials and tribulations. It is like finding out that you made the grand final in under 12 soccer ten times over.
You start to see the media coverage and begin to realise the enormity of what we achieved together.
I personally will not be in the sled however the spirit of the team has grown stronger with the realisation that the individuals that are there represent is all, both as a team and as a Nation.
It is really quite exciting to know that your friends are about to be part of history.
Jamacia and Brazil also made it through however Jamaica will only be in 2 man and Brazil only the 4
Other teams we have formed close connections with will not be going as their national federation as elected not to send them despite them fulfilling the IOC requirements.
That would have to be the most bitter pill to swallow as you know you have a spot waiting for you if only your national federation would send you

The last race of the season was in  Königssee in the valley under Hitler’s Eagles Nest. A  truely stunning area
The points for the race did not count towards Olympic selection however it was a critical race to decide world rankings and World Cup positions for next year
Our performance was not optimal given it was the last race before the Olympics however it gave us a fantastic opportunity to test and run our new borrowed sled!

Our training camp in Oberhof Germany this week has been great with the boys in the sled pushing a personal best each day.
With the first sliding day of the Olympics just over 2 weeks away we are peeking at the right time.
Thank you all for your support over the year an I look forward to catching up with you personally after the Games.

Bobsleigh Lake Placid – Americas Cup

This last week on tour has been our most successful yet.
We flew from our disappointing no start in Calgary, to Lake Placid in Upstate New York.
We had a little bit of work to do on both the 2 and 4 man sleds to get them back up to race pace. Our last trip down in the 4 man in Park City was the crash!
We were fortunate enough to have the help of Randy Will, a 2 time Olympian himself, and coach of gold medalist in 2002 skeleton.  He helped us realign our sled and did some major panel beating to the shoe that holds the runners.
A bit of panel beating was also needed on the tired and broken bodies! It is not until you feel the immense amount of pressure exerted in a sled, do you have a true appreciation for the forces that destroy ligaments and tendons holding the body together. The seasons accumulated slides is starting to take its toll!
Training went well and we were in the top 3 or 4 sleds each day. The only problem with this, is that you quickly realise that you do not win any medals on training day, and keeping it all together for the race is unfortunately not as easy as it sounds
The two man race was tense. Lake Placid is well renowned as one of the toughest tracks in the world, and it demands a lot of respect from everyone who slides. We had done all the prep and it was time to put the seasons lessons to good use. Heath and Duncan were in the sled and it was up to us to set the pace. Our start was good and very competitive being the 6th fastest of the day. The top part of the track, whilst being the slowest section, offers the greatest opportunity to make gains on the field as any small mistake at the top is magnified at the bottom.
Heath drove the top section brilliantly and we maintained our competitiveness; however, we were still slightly behind the time set by some of the previous sleds.  As we rounded corner 4, 5 and 6 we started to climb through the ranks moving up in positions.
The bottom part of the track is where the sleds are moving at around 130km/h. Any improvement is usually difficult as all the sleds are flying by this stage. Somehow we made even more time and crossed the line in first place! With several sleds still to come, it was a matter of seeing how we would be able to hold our spot.
By the end of the first run we were in 4th place behind Monaco,
Korea and just pipped at the post by Japan.
The second run has been our nemesis all season as we had lost positions in all other races. We changed the preparation of both athletes and sleds to see if we could achieve a different result.
We were the 4th last sled to go, as all sleds go in reverse order for the second run.
Our start again was good but not the fastest, and we started behind the time set by the previous sleds.
Heath made a small driving error in corner 3 which put us even further behind, and it looked like we were to repeat our previous performances and drop a few spots.
As he went through the lower corners however, the preseason trip to this track, and the brutal bone bruising rides in October started to pay dividends. We were making time through corners 13 and 14. With just 4 corners to go, we were still behind but the time difference was falling. It is almost impossible to gain time in the final section and we were waiting to see how many spots we had lost as we crossed the line. Somehow we had continued to climb and crossed the line in first place again. It was now up to the final 3 sleds to hold their place!
With bated breath we watched each corner on the monitor to see if we could climb the order. Each sled in sequence held onto its spot and we finished in 4th place! Our best result of the season!
With Korea (1st), Monaco (2nd), Japan (3rd) and Australia (4th), it was noted by all in attendance, that these so called smaller nations of bobsleigh, are a force to be reckoned with, and no longer looked down upon.
USA, Russia, Great Britain, all power houses in the sport, finished lower in the order!
Our 4 Man race was very similar, except for one important factor.
We came 3rd!
An even better result. It was a very proud moment having the Aussie flag raised at the medal ceremony!
This week we are racing on the World Cup again here in Lake Placid. Full TV coverage, and also live streaming. With 2 Man and one 4 Man race still to come this week, we are hopeful of good results.
You can watch live or replay on
Race is Friday 8:30am Saturday 8:30am and Sunday 1pm local time.
For most of you that would be around midnight Saturday and Sunday, and 2am Monday.
Hope you are all well, and I look forward to being home this time next week, and back at work before Christmas!
You can check out some great photos of the season so far at

Bobsleigh park city

This week saw 6 races in just 5 days
Intense racing to say the least.
Our results in 2 man 15th 10th  11th
Four man 7th  6th 14th

Fastest speed 132.2 km/h
Fast 4 man push 5.00

Our race positions are still a little disappointing given what we want to achieve however we are setting personal bests for our  push and down times.

On a personal note it was a great week as I was working closely with both the Canadian and the British teams looking after many of their athletes.

Our 4 man is working on their timing to get the starts down pat. We currently use a bobbing sequence called the ‘Russian bob’ which involves two bounces before the hit on the sled.
Unfortunately at the moment with the injuries to different team members our consistency with timing and starts still has not fulfilled its potential.
The thrill and rush of sliding is still there however with the day to day rush of sled preparation and treating all the athletes you start to see the hard slog of the sport.
The rush and fatigue caught up with the team and we crashed in the last race at park city.  While everyone was ok there where a few sore heads and bruised bodies.
It is a 17 hrs car ride back to Calgary for the World Cup in 2 days time.
Heath and Lucas flew back to Calgary so as to compete in the official training for the  World Cup in order to get some tv time for our sponsors however our extensive travel and fatigue meant they crashed in practice and failed to qualify. 2 crashes in 2 days meant we had a welcomed day off before our trip to lake placid where we are to compete in both the Americas cup and World Cup to be held here over the next 15 days.
The crashes definitely put the risks associated with the sport in the forefront of your mind. You definitely reps expect the track and what it can do. Lake placid is regarded by  many as one of the hardest tracks in the world and it is a return to the track where I began the season where the American athlete broke her jaw.

Olympic trials

Olympic trials and first calgary slide

Last Monday we had the official Olympic trials to make the squad that will go forward to compete in the upcoming season and then hopefully qualify for the Sochi winter Olympic Games.

Even though we all knew each other, tension was high, as everyone wanted to push well.  In the greater schemme of things these qualifiers still does not guarantee anyone a spot in the Olympics. It does mean however those that get to go will come from the squad selected on the day.

The day was going to see the 10 possible people available for selection officially cut to 7. A few had decided that the Olympic dream was not for them so had not made the trek to calgary to compete on the day.

The nerves of the day took me back to the under 12 soccer grand final of 1983. Breakfast was small and eating during the day was difficult as holding down anything on top of the butterflies in my stomach seemed impossible.

They had preped the ice and it was fast. I had drawn to push 6th.

I had a moment to stop and think when it was my turn. Everything seemed to go in slow motion for a few seconds. i thought to myself  that it seemed weird that I was standing on the block about to push for national selection. It was amazing just to be there.

I honestly can not remeber much about the whole pushing experience. I know I have it on tape some where to go back and watch at a later date. It was over in a flash. I was not happy with much of the techniqual stuff of the push. I was a little disappointed with my effort.

The results came in, it was official I was the slowest in the squad, however the important part of that sentence is “in the squad”

I had made it!!!!

I have the largest opportunity of improvement of anyone in the team! and I fully intend on making use of that opportunity

The next day we formed different combinations to find the fastest four man squad we could put together. It does not always work out that the fastest pushers are the fastest team as it comes down to timing and coordination.

The individualism and competitiveness had gone and we were now all working together to form a team.

On the track I was the first to be in the the new 2 man sled. Thank you to all of those that gave through our sportaroo campaign to help us buy it. It is a second hand sled from the female team. With Jana Pittman joining the female team they were able to raise money to buy a brand new sled allowing us to buy their old sled. Definitely better than the one we had last season!

The ride down the Calgary track was a doddle in the park compared to the bruitaliity of the lake placid track

The month ahead will see the team come together and testing being done before the begining of the season proper.

The body is feeling every part of the training schedule already.  I look forward to seeing what my mind can make my body do! A good challenge ahead!

First slide of the season 2013/14

First slide of the season 2013/14

This email signifies the beginning of the Olympic season for bobsleigh.

I have just arrived in Calgary after a week or so in New York State.

I have found that at 42 your body takes just that little bit longer to adapt and that recovery is critical in all athletic performance. Just how those few drinks when you were 20 only took your few hrs to get over the next day now take you a few days or a week to recover from.

A few days in New York shopping before heading up State to Lake Placid allowed the body to settle into the time zone a little easier.

The original plan was to meet in lake placid so we could trial our newly renovated 4 man sled. If you remember from the end of last season the chassis broke half way down the track on our first run of the competition and we had to borrow the Brazilian sled to complete our second run. Well the sled is all welded back together and we were keen to try it out however it was unseasonably warm and the ice was very soft so the powers that be at lake placid would not let us use the 4 man sled as the weight would break the soft ice. We were left to trial our new second hand sled that many of you so generously helped us buy off the women’s team.

The morning of the first slide of the season is always full of nervous anticipation. The nerves start early and with lessons learnt from previous adventures of trying to hold down a big breaky pulling 5G into a corner, it was only a very light breakfast for me.

Warming up was slow and tedious as sitting for 30 plus hours had taken its toll on my legs and hamstrings. We were not out to break records today but still wanted to see what the off season training had done for the start time.
We were at the track with the American squad as a part of their preseason testing and ranking. The current Olympic gold medal team where there and it would be a great test to slide on the same track pre season to see where you really stand in the world rankings.

It was our turn. We were up! The butterflies were actually not as great as they had been in the past. I consciously thought that I had somehow almost got use to standing at the top of this icey tunnel of terror. However it is not that you are no longer scared or nervous but more to the point that you are use to doing it scared and nervous.

We set up on the block and crouch into position. We are now about to find out if all the training was worth it. The 6 or 7 days a week some times twice a day of training all comes down to this. You want to make it good. Your nervous, your terrified, you think a little bit of wee just came out! Your ready to go!

The usual call of "BACK" "SET" "UP"!!!

We were off!

I was late on the hit and Heath moved the sled before I did and I slipped and stumble head first into the sled. "$&@!!!!"

I recovered my footing too late to make a good start but in enough time to get 4 or 5 good strides in before loading.

It was at this point you realise it was my first time in the back of this particular sled. It was smaller than any previous sled I had been in. Trying to fold and contort my body into the confined space in a fraction of a second had left me with limbs wedged into positions that were less than ideal. I was not able to fold completely as my right arm was wedged and I could not brace my head on my knees leaving it to be tossed around like a pit bulls favourite toy under the enormous pressures of the lower corners. The ride was rough. The roughest I had ever experienced. It was simply brutal. Not because of heaths driving or from being bounced off walls but because the ice was rough. On the way down I had been forced to clench my teeth as that was the only way I could stop them Smashing together uncontrollably. The helmet was marked from being smashed into the side of the sled and I had a headache even before getting out of the sled.

It was at the bottom of the slide after gaining only a few of my senses that I saw one of the female USA team members in tears. The track was that rough that even with her helmet on her head she had hit the cowling on the inside of the sled with such force that she broke her jaw in 2 places. One of the guys associated with our team is an oral plastic surgeon and he took her to hospital where they had to wire her jaw shut. Unfortunately her Olympic quest is over in preseason as she will not be able to compete again till the season is already over.

The disappointment of my start was over shadowed by the shear relief of being in one piece and I started to nurse my own bumps and bruises from the ride. I would have another opportunity over the next 2 days to improve my start.

There Has Never Been A Better Time To Be A Chiropractic Patient.

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