Kim Murray: The Life Of A Future Winter Olympics Athlete

Since swapping the long jump sandpit for icy tracks two years ago, GB skeleton athlete Kim Murray has been working towards the Winter Olympics. She recently joined PledgeSports to fundraise her Winter Olympic ambition. In her guest blog, Kim gives an exclusive behind the scenes look into the life of an athlete trying to qualify for the Winter Olympics – enjoy!

The Life Of A Winter Olympics Hopeful

After a mere two years in the sport I can safely say life as a skeleton athlete is not like anything I’d experienced before. You live two lives, one in the summer and one in the winter. May to April in Bath, England training (which is fairly normal tbh), and then October to March in who knows where sliding all over the world (very non-normal). Below are some little insights into the world of skeleton on tour…

On-season, it takes an inordinate time to dress and undress thanks to the many, many layers you wear outside. The lowest temperature I have experienced is -25 in Calgary.

Lip balm is your best friend. I highly recommend Blistex.

lake1We don’t swim in the swimming pool. We walk/lunge/squat/stretch up and down it for recovery. Yes, we get a lot of weird looks. We also love an icy cold lake.

Tape is life. Our sleds (and most other stuff) are all held together with rocket (Tesa) tape.

If you’re good (not me) you can look at a bolt and tell which alan key you need.

We spend a lot of time sitting in the back of open trucks, without seatbelts, being transported from the bottom to the top of the track.

Double underwear is a thing.

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Mainland Europe and Americans don’t really get tea. Bring your own teabags (and kettle).

Ice can be both soft and hard. Hard ice is skiddy. Soft ice is slow.

The weather helps determine whether the ice is hard or soft and how quick the track will be on a given day. Cue obsession with the weather forecast.

We don’t tend to wear make up for training. But, it is a must on race day, even for those of us who aren’t on TV (YouTube) #lookgoodfeelgood.

IMG_0901-300x225We hit icy concrete walls at the speed a car drives on a motorway (maybe not as fast as German’s on the Autobahn, though). This can lead to bruises which mean you can’t straighten your arm for two weeks.

Every day on-season (bar maybe one day a week) is scheduled 7am-7pm at least.

You end up washing underwear in hotel sinks on the reg.

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Headbands > hats for girls. Allows for the ponytail and works as a sweatband too. If it’s a hat it must have a pom pom.

14705777_1164384556985348_2760645713729398426_nTwo years ago the talent squad were all ‘normal’ and strangers to one another. Now we are close friends and know way too much about one another.

We get excited to put jeans (and sometimes make up) on once a week even though they don’t fit us properly cause of all the quad gains.

On average we each travel with 79 kg of luggage (a solid 15 kg more than my bodyweight!).

In St. Moritz we wear fur. #locals

You spend so much time away from home you start to have really random, unexplainable crushes.

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Changing rooms are mixed. And a lot of nations aren’t shy and favour the skin to win approach.

15095126_1207341429356327_2573630496863657489_nA hairdryer is essential. It warms the inside of your helmet so that it doesn’t fog up on the way down.

In Europe a twin room is basically a double. I’ve woken up to my roomates head on my pillow before!

Losing weight is bad. Fat is fast.

Cabbage offel pancakes for dinner is my personal worst tea ever (thanks Sigulda).

It is perfectly normal to stop in the middle of a snowy car park, close your eyes and act out/visualise going down the track.

We laugh and joke about our worst hits/crashes. Crashing in certain corners is like a rite of passage.

12715535_983870048370134_3685118408918281031_nWe drive an obscene amount. All over Europe. I’m talking eight hours one Friday, followed by another eight every week for the next three weeks.

Some people prefer packing the van to others (sorry, inside joke).

Boyfriends become more like pen pals.

Kaiserschmarrn is life. Google it.

Group chat is your best friend for keeping the family up to date.

We spend hours polishing our runners every week, yet minutes sliding on them.

The first day at a new track is THE WORST FEELING EVER #nervouspoos

If you would like to help Kim get to the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing you can visit her fundraising page here.


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