WINTER OLYMPICS: Sussex's Brad Hall begins medal campaign for Team GB this morning
Former athletics multi-eventer Brad Hall wants to shake-off any humorous references to popular film Cool Runnings and to clinch a bobsleigh medal for Team GB.
The Sussex sportsman is now a full-time athlete and has been selected as pilot to lead the Great Britain two-man and four-man teams.
This season so far has been good with Brad and his colleagues gaining a bronze medal at the four-man version at the World Cup in Utah, USA.
They have regularly finished in the top-ten and believe they can improve upon the fifth place achieved by their Team GB predecessors four years ago.
GB’s last bobsleigh medal came in 1998, with a bronze but they are hoping to receive a retrospective bronze because of the Russian team’s alleged involvement of doping in Sochi in 2014.
Hall is probably better known in his home town of Crawley as a decathlete.
He competed at the National Championships and among his achievements he broke into the top-five under-23s discus throwers in the country.
However following in the footsteps of Crawley’s own Olympic double gold medallist at the decathlon, Daley Thompson, was not for him.
Hall, 27, lived with his parents in Bewbush and went to school at Hazelwick in Three Bridges before going on to Collyer’s in Horsham.
He then studied sport science at Brunel University.
Hall now lives in Bath where the well-funded British Bobsleigh and Skeleton is based and where he practices push-starts and combined with lots of overseas travel to practise sledding.
He revealed: “I stopped competing six or seven years ago as there were too many injuries. I had problems with my shins and back.”
He said: “I went to the Power 2 Podium trials and tested for seven or eight different physical sports.
“I was actually selected for the skeleton as I got to the last ten, and I went to compete in Lillehammer in Norway and was absolutely useless.
“I didn’t last long as my head kept on smashing against the floor.
“I was called one week later to try out the bobsleigh and went along to the testing at Loughborough.
“I went for a summer of training and integrated with the team and kept doing well.
“I just missed out on the last Olympics but for the last four years I have been driver/pilot.”
The event is a demanding one, requiring speed and strength and concentration as the sled reaches speeds of just under 100mph.
Hall revealed: “It’s tricky as a pilot, your head is thrown from side to side and you experience pressures of six-times the force of gravity.
“We are the fastest at starts that Team GB as ever had and I am hoping for a medal first time around!”
The bobsleigh events begin today (Sunday) at 11.05am with the first and second heats of the Two-Man event which continue until 1.45pm.
TV coverage runs today from 9am until 3.35pm on both BBC1 and BBC2.
The Two-man event will conclude with the third and fourth heats tomorrow (Monday), starting at 11.15am and finishing at 1.45pm.
TV coverage will run on Monday on BBC1 and BBC2 from 9.15am until 6pm.