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"Don't Try This at Home!"

January 31st, 2014
06:05 PM ET

“Try this for size,” said one of Team GB’s Olympic coaches, passing me a lycra suit and crash helmet.

I should have known better.

But I didn’t.

On a cold, wet morning in mid-January, I disappeared into the back of a shed and struggled into the ridiculously tight-fitting “onesie”.

What happened next may just have scarred me for life.

Coach Danny Holdcroft’s 5-minute master class in the finer points of Skeleton racing should have been enough to convince me to cut my losses and run.

But it wasn’t.

Dutifully, I bent down, drew a breath, grabbed the rails on the sled... and took off at a sprint, throwing myself face first onto my stomach. And closed my eyes!

I don’t really remember what happened next but I heard myself scream. It was all over in less than 15 seconds. I’d hit the buffers on at the end of the 100-meter track at a (slow) speed of 30kph and I’d lived to tell the tale.

Skeleton is undoubtedly one of the most dangerous sports in the Winter Olympics. At speeds of more than 100kph and stresses of up to 5g, athletes take on the track with no steering, no brakes and no protective shell around them.

Adrenalin pumping – yes.

Would I do it again? Probably not...

But what I can say with absolute certainty is that I'll be cheering on every single one of those athletes in Sochi who take on this crazy sport – from the comfort of my sofa, of course!


Filed under:  Olympics • Sochi • Sport • Video
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