Road To Beijing 2022
Team Bobsleigh Brad
- 0.44% funded
- £ 1,105.00 pledged
- 345 Days Left
Hello and welcome to Team Bobsleigh Brad on our Road to the 2022 Beijing Olympics!
Who are we?
We are a team of 7 athletes, all with a different backgrounds ranging from England 7’s rugby players to GB track & field athletes and elite soldiers.
Brad Hall – Great Britain Bobsleigh pilot since 2015, 2018 Winter Olympian, 2019 World Championships Medallist and 2020 Igls World Cup Medallist. 29 years old from Crawley, West Sussex.
Sam Blanchet – Former England 7’s & Exeter Chiefs Rugby player, Great Britain Brakeman since 2016, 2017 World Championships Brakeman and 2018 Winter Olympian. 28 years old from Exeter, Devon.
Greg Cackett – Former Great Britain 100m Sprinter, Great Britain Brakeman since 2016, 2018 Winter Olympian and multiple World Cup podiums since. 30 years old from Brockham, Surrey.
Luke Dawes – Former Welsh Premiership and Invitational 7’s Rugby player, Serving Paratrooper with The Parachute Regiment, Great Britain Brakeman since 2019. 25 years old from Llantwit Major, Wales.
Nick Gleeson – Serving Paratrooper with The Parachute Regiment, Great Britain Brakeman since 2016, 2018 Winter Olympian and 2019 Whistler World Championships medallist. 23 years old from Epsom, Surrey.
Taylor Lawrence – Former Semi-pro footballer for Margate Town FC, Serving Royal Marine Commando, 7’s Rugby player for The Royal Marines and Great Britain Brakeman since early 2020. 24 years old from Westgate-on-Sea, Kent.
Alan Toward – 26 years old from County Durham, first year Great Britain Bobsleigh brakeman and International Discus thrower. 28 years old from Gateshead, County Durham.
We have been completely self funded since the summer of 2019, when UK Sport withdrew our funding. Since then, the team has steadily progressed and produced world class performances resulting in multiple podium finishes over the recent seasons.
What we hope to do with this Pledge.
Bobsleigh is an incredibly expensive sport, especially considering that all we do is slide downhill on ice in a high-tech bathtub. Because we are self-funded, we not only have to focus on performing in competitions but also in sorting out the behind the scenes admin that no one else sees. This is where we need the public’s help now, more than ever, to ensure that we keep the Union Jack flying high on the world stage for everyone to see leading up to Beijing 2022.
A few examples of some of the costs that a full World Cup season incurs include:
- Accommodation (per athlete) – £8,000 and (per team of 5) = £40,000.
- Travel (Vehicle costs & fuel, International freight, flights etc) – £30,000.
- Bobsleigh Equipment – 2 Man £40,000+, 4 Man £100,000+, Runners £7500+.
- Personal Equipment (Helmet, Spikes, Burns vest & race suit) – £1000 per athlete.
As you can see it’s not the cheapest sport in the world and, as of yet, none of our lottery numbers have come in!
Where this pledge will take us..
As you can imagine, doing a winter sport in the UK is a pretty impossible seeming as snow and ice is quite hard to come by. Thankfully, our European neighbours just over the channel have an abundance of it in the winter and, more importantly, they have bobsleigh tracks! It’s in these places where we spend the vast majority of our competitive season.
As a general layout for our season, we usually kick it off with a day of team selection or push rankings in October which is held in Oberhof, Germany. After this, we head off to a European bobsleigh track for our first taste of ice. This is what we call pre-season sliding and it’s where our pilot, Brad, practices his driving and we, his hardworking push athletes, practice our pushing before competitions start. Soon after, the IBSF World Cup Circuit (the highest level of bobsleigh competition in the world) gets underway. Here we compete against 20+ nations on multiple bobsleigh tracks, such as:
- Sigulda, Latvia
- Innsbruck, Austria
- Altenberg, Germany
- Winterberg, Germany
- St Moritz, Switzerland
- Königssee, Germany
- Lake Placid, USA
- Park City, USA
- Beijing, China (Olympic test event)
It’s a lot of mileage! This does not phase us here at Team Bobsleigh Brad as we will take every race as an opportunity to prove to everyone that we have what it takes to gain an Olympic medal in Beijing. Hopefully, you will join us on this exciting journey!
Why we are asking for help from the public.
To answer this question, it’s easier to go back in time in order to explain how a world class bobsleigh crew have ended up with no funding or financial backing.
Following Great Britain’s huge success at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, where they retrospectively won a Bronze medal in the 4-man event, UK Sport awarded a hefty amount of money to the GB bobsleigh program. The team was looking hopeful for a repeat result in the next Olympic cycle but sadly, and through no fault of the athletes, some mis-managed funds from our governing body (the BBSA) resulted in the athletes not being provided with adequate equipment (sleds and runners).
Bobsleigh is often described as “Formula 1 on ice” and that analogy is particularly accurate when referring to equipment. The quality of sleds and runners is always the difference maker between successful teams and the ones who languish at the bottom of the rankings.
As you can imagine, our sub-par equipment resulted in a lack of speed down the track which meant that we suffered the public humiliation of a poor Olympic result at the 2018 Winter Olympics. For many of us, it was our first Olympic Games, and the fact that the result was taken out of hands has really spurred us on.
Fast forward to the 2018/2019 season where UK Sport granted the BBSA a final year of financial support with the promise of further funding on the premise that we could achieve a top 3 finish at the 2019 Whistler World Championships. To achieve this at the fastest track in the world with our under-performing equipment seemed near impossible, so we used good old British initiative and decided to rent a sled.
This was made possible through a pledge much like this one and turned out to be one of the best decisions we had ever made. The money raised allowed us to rent a sled which resulted in us finishing 4th at the World Championships. It tied the best ever 2-man result for Great Britain Bobsleigh for 54 years!
Unfortunately again, UK Sport deemed this an under-performance from their target of Top 3 and sadly stripped us completely of funding in the summer of 2019.
We didn’t give up, though. Throughout the summer of 2019 we sent out hundreds (if not thousands) of emails, to try and raise the funds to allow us to be fully self sufficient and continue with our journey to Olympic glory, which we managed to do.
The following season, after a long summer of hard work, we had one of Great Britain’s best ever seasons with numerous podium results. The best of those being a 2nd place finish in Igls, Austria, which equalled GB’s best ever World Cup result for over 53 years!
If you have gotten this far, we really appreciate you sticking around and listening to our story. We hope that it has fully informed you about where we have been, where we are now and where we are looking to go.
For more information please see our sponsorship pack: https://spark.adobe.com/page/CCEGAypJudAkL/
FROM ALL OF THE TEAM, THANK YOU FOR TAKING THE TIME TO READ OUR PROPOSAL!
WE LOOK FORWARD TO REPRESENTING OUR NATION WITH PRIDE AT THE 2022 WINTER OLYMPICS
WE’D LOVE TO REPRESENT YOU TOO!