Six members of a men’s bobsleigh team are set to represent BRAZIL for the world championships but it will be the FIRST time they have seen snow – echoing the story line from the film Cool Runnings.
The team are adjusting to the grim Yorkshire weather after choosing the rural destination of Bedale, North Yorks., as their training base while setting their sights on the 2017 Winter Olympics.
Just like in the 1993 film which features a team from Jamaica who had never seen snow before – the Brazilian bobsleigh team are training hard ahead of their first race in Romania next month in the world championships.
Team coach Nicola Minichiello said: “A lot of people don’t think Brazil will even have a bobsleigh team
“It’s almost a standing joke – but that’s part and parcel of it. The reality is they are incredible determined.
“They are focused and strong and these guys are hugely talented.”
As the eyes of the world are on their home country for the Olympics, the national team, six-strong, are training on the bobsleigh track at the Camp Hill Estate.
It’s the same location where Nicola, of Sheffield, South Yorks., honed her own skills during her glory days.
And is home to one of only two Olympic standard tracks in England.
Nicola, herself a world champion and three-times Olympic competitor, said: “They’ve never had the opportunity to train like this before.
“Running for them means literally running down the street – there’s no push track in Brazil at all.
“They are very disadvantaged and it’s very impoverished. Right now for these guys it’s about taking the first steps.”
The “super competitive” team train twice a day, six days a week. Running, jumping, weightlifting. At the end of the summer, one of them will be cut.
Only five will make it ‘to ice’ – and only four will make the final team.
Nicola said that the country’s success at the on-going Olympics is bringing them a huge confidence boost.
She said: “It is quite random – while everyone has gone to Brazil, they’ve left to come here.
“But probably, they are going to see more on the TV here than they would in Brazil because they can’t afford tickets.
“The legacy will bring them the belief that they can become competitors.
“They came dead last in the last race – but that was before we started training.
“If everything goes to plan, the next step is the Winter Olympics in 18 month’s time.”