Cool! He's in the running
Jonathan Reid volunteered for the New Zealand bobsled team when his only exposure to the sport was watching the movie Cool Runnings.
Adrenaline sports have always interested Mr Reid, 32 so when a friend told him there was talk of starting a New Zealand team he quickly put himself forward.
His first foray into it came when he was sent hurtling down the fastest bobsled track in the world during the Canadian team's practice session in Whistler.
"It was the first time I had ever seen a bobsled let alone ridden in one.
"I got thrown right in the deep end.
"Think of the most intense roller coaster you've ever been on and the point where you go over the big drop."
Mr Reid hopes to qualify for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi as part of the two-man New Zealand Bobsled Team piloted by Martin White.
The two are mostly self-trained and self-funded, but have received some coaching from former Olympic bobsledder Pat Brown who is played by John Candy in Cool Runnings.
Mr Reid grew up in Murrays Bay and moved to Whistler four years ago to pursue the mountain lifestyle.
Never in his wildest dreams did he think he would one day be training for bobsled at the Winter Olympics.
Mr Reid's role as brakeman is to provide the forward momentum at the beginning of the course.
"I give the sled an aggressive push at the start. The sled
weighs a couple hundred kilograms and so the push is crucial because it is the only way for us to pick up speed."
Bobsled super powers like Germany, Switzerland, Canada and the US dominate the top spots and Mr Reid says there are several Olympic places reserved for minnows like New Zealand.
"We are in the have-nots with countries like Australia, Panama and Jamaica," he says.
The dangers involved in speeding 150kmh down a steep ice tube are not enough to scare him, Mr Reid says.
"I would say you are more likely to get injured skiing or snowboarding than bobsledding."
Mr Reid survived his first crash unscathed while training just days ago. "I walked away unhurt apart from a bit of ice rash on my shoulders."
Leading into next year's Olympics the pair aims to compete in as many international meets as it can.
Go to nzbobsled.org if you would like to support them or visit facebook.com/NZBobsled.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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