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Cool Runnings at 5 live

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Eleanor Oldroyd | 16:32 UK time, Thursday, 21 January 2010

british_bobsled_600x272.jpgWhen the big bosses at Radio 5 live ask you to do something, the best answer is usually "yes".


So when it was suggested I might like to undertake a challenge for Sport Relief, of course I agreed.


And as part of 5 live's small but perfectly-formed reporting team at the Winter Olympics (me and Vassos Alexander), it made sense for me to give it an icy theme.


So here I am, preparing to take an early-morning flight to Innsbruck on Sunday... to become a temporary member of the British four-man bobsleigh team.


How on EARTH did I agree to that?!


I've just watched some video of training runs on the Igls circuit, and my palms are already sweating in anticipation.


The good news is I won't be doing any of the actual driving - or even pushing off the start. All I have to do is sit, and allow the experts to take me down. At around 100 kilometres per hour. And maybe do a bit of considered commentary.


"OK, we're off...oh no... AAAAAARGHHH!" (repeat for approximately 1 minute).


It sounds terrifying - but it should be the biggest adrenalin rush of my life.


I'm open to advice from anyone else who's done it - so far, this is what I've gleaned...


  1. Go to the loo beforehand - apparently the G-forces can play havoc with your bladder, with potentially embarrassing consequences...

  1. And speaking of embarrassment... watch out for wardrobe malfunctions. Will Britain's world champion bobber Gillian Cooke ever live down her unfortunate splitting spandex suit in St Moritz last weekend? It only proves that all ladies should wear gigantic pants on all occasions.


Anyway, provided I survive with my dignity more or less intact, you'll be able to hear all about it on 5 live and watch it afterwards, here on the website.


And perhaps you'll stop laughing for long enough to sign up for your own sporting challenge for Sport Relief. 

Eleanor presents 5 live Sport on Thursday evenings on 5 live, and will be covering the Winter Olympics on 5 live and 5 live sports extra.


  • Comment number 1.

    Best of luck Eleanor!
    I was part of a two-woman bobsleigh team that tackled this track a couple of years ago, while training for the British Championships.
    I have to say it was the best experience of my life but we took a tumble during one run and I broke my collar bone :-(
    Would I do it again? Ummmm... not sure!!
    Top tip: Remember to breathe and enjoy every minute of it... and don't scream too loud!!

  • Comment number 2.

    I had the great privilege of riding the four man Bob Taxi, as it's euphemistically called, in St Moritz last weekend, as part of an incredible weekend with one of the British Team's sponsors (we were there supporting the women's team when poor Gillian's suit gave up the ghost).
    Despite having been coached and encouraged by the GB professionals beforehand, nothing prepares you for the rush. I guess that if you were to combine all of the rides at Alton Towers, then muliply that by a factor of twenty, you might get some idea of what's to come.
    Eleanor, when you're told to keep your head and sholders strong to deal with the G-forces, forget it. You'll have absolutely no control over what happens to your body, as we proved at the infamous horsehoe at St Mortiz (almost upside down and at 5 Gs). Enjoy - it's certain to be one of the most memorable things you'll ever do and I feel very honoured to have had the opportunity.
    Forza Team GB!

  • Comment number 3.

    Done something similar to the Bob Taxi at Igls under floodlights a few years ago and it's a real adrenaline rush. Try to resist the temptation to watch where you're going and just keep your chin tucked into your chest, you'll be fine :)

  • Comment number 4.

    All the best, Elly! I look forward to hearing/watching about it. It'd be great if you could wear a microphone during the run.

  • Comment number 5.

    Good luck Elanor.I had the opportunity with the army boys about 25 years ago(after a long night in the bar opposite).Bottled it and regretted ever since.

  • Comment number 6.

    It's okay to begin with, and the first corner is fun, because it's relatively slow, so you're not banked too high. By the time you reach the big U (every course has one), you're ready to get off, but can't. Stopping is both a relief and a disappointment. It's instantly addictive, pure hedonism. A doctor in Oslo asked me three days later why I was feelin giddy and had neck pain, had I done any sport recently? Only the Olympic bobsleigh course at Lillehammer I replied. Go home and rest (!), you've got whiplash was his answer! As others have said, avoid this type of injury by either building neck muscles like Mike Tyson, or keep your head tucked in! Erm, comparisons; probably jumping off a cliff with a paragliding shoot at 4000m, though this actually felt less scary compared to the 'U'. The old rickety wooden roller coaster at Coney Island is scary, as the cars run on tracks, and are not locked on; similar feeling to bob-sleighing, though not as intense.

  • Comment number 7.

    I went on a taxi-bob run at La Plagne, whilst on a skiing holiday. I loved it! It just got faster and faster, to the point that all I could do was focus on breathing. We hit 118kph by the end, great fun. One bit of advice - try not to sit at the back as that is the rougher ride and you get nocked about a bit.

  • Comment number 8.

    Eleanor, you say:

    "When the big bosses at Radio 5 live ask you to do something, the best answer is usually "yes"."

    What does this mean? This is bullying and harassment. You should be able to decline such a thing if you want without feeling that you must accept because your boss asks you. I am rather concerned about this practice at the bbc!


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