Andy Wood's Blog

GB Skeleton Athlete

Crazy last week!

Busy busy busy…

We had a team camp this week in Bath which involved lots of meetings about the coming season and also a couple of  sled workshops.  All this was fitted around packing for the season and packing up all my gear from the rented flat!

Media Day, BathDuring our team camp, we had a media day where we were given ideas on how to deal with the media, what to say or not say etc!  We were then off to the push track facility where various members of the media had gathered, and members of our team performed a few demonstration pushes for the cameras.  There were interviews for the newspapers, TV and radio before a photo shoot was arranged of individual athletes and the team as a whole.  There’s always an increase in media attention in the run up to the Winter Olympic Games.

As I mentioned before, we were working this week on our new sleds.  Each sled needs to be setup specifically for the athlete who’s going to use it.  We have a variety of different sized athetes in our team, some need heavier sleds and some lighter versions, depending on their body weight.  The heavier combined weight the better, although there are rules about how heavy you can go.

The sleds then need to be balanced correctly with the athletes in their race position.  The metal runners that are in contact with the ice on the underside of the sled are curved.  If you can imagine lying in the middle of a see-saw, we want to lie on the sled so that it doesn’t tip backwards or forwards once we’re in position.  If we lie too far back on our sleds, we’ll have too much grip on the ice and we won’t be able to steer.  Too far forward and we will lose grip on the ice and not only will our steers have no effect but we’ll probably skid a lot on the ice.  It’s a fine ‘balance’ between the two!

As the sleds are made up of hundreds of metal components, lying on it just isn’t comfortable without some foam padding!  This padding isn’t pre-made, we have to cut and shape it to fit our sleds.  There are rules to say that the surface we lie on must be flat without and indentations, so it can take a fair amount of time filling in all the holes and gaps in our sled with funny shapped pieces of foam!  Not my favourite job in the world.

I’ve now left Bath.  All my gear is packed onto the team bus which is leaving for Cesana, Italy tomorrow.  My sled is still not complete, I need to continue working on it once I get to Cesana.  For now, I’m at my Dad’s for the weekend before heading off to Gatwick on Monday.  5 days and we’ll be back on the ice.  Crazy!

Oh, the BBC have a bit of footage from their day in Bath:

October 2, 2009 - Posted by | Blog Archive

1 Comment »

  1. A fleeting glimpse of you looking like you have a full head of curly hair 😛

    Comment by Kate | October 15, 2009 | Reply

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