Shropshire bobsledder Ben Simons going for Winter Olympics glory
Shropshire bobsleigh athlete Ben Simons is bidding for Winter Olympic Games glory tonight.
Ben ‘The Bounce’ is part of one of two British four-man crews out in PyeongChang for the Games, with the bobsleigh showdown getting under way in the early hours of tomorrow.
From sleeping in the back of the car when money was tight to competing at his second Winter Games, it’s been quite a journey for the bobsleigh athlete.
The 31-year-old and team-mates Lamin Deen, Andy Matthews and Toby Olubi have been on the ice undertaking training runs since Wednesday.
They already showed their intent in November when they won silver at the Whistler World Cup.
But such performances come as little surprise to former Telford Athletics Club athlete Simons, who has been a part of the British bobsleigh set-up since 2012.
He finished 15th on his Olympic debut four years ago but the entire squad has pushed on since then, with the set-up a world away from what he first encountered.
“When I first came into this sport and did my first set of trials I was still painting and decorating to try to make ends meet while I was studying,” he said.
“I slept in the back of my car on my dusts sheets when I was training in Bath.
"Other people have done the same sort of thing when there wasn’t the funding in the sport.
“And it’s the results we’ve got through hard work and dedication that has got us the funding to carry on and go from strength to strength.
“That heart and everything we’ve put into it is now starting to result in some of the best finishes GB bobsleigh have produced. Who knows, we could have a fairytale ending.”
All the money in the British team is aimed at the four-man, where Britain last won an Olympic medal with a bronze at the 1998 Games in Nagano.
Both four-man teams have tasted World Cup success this year with the other crew winning bronze a week before Simons did silver.
And the two-time Olympian thinks the teams are in an even better place than the end of last year.
“We were thrown together as a crew then, there was a lot of chopping and changing at that point and we came out and proved ourselves,” he added.
“We started phenomenally, we recorded the fastest speeds ever recorded in a bobsleigh so the kit is working well with the aerodynamics.
“That’s the reason the crew was kept together and the reason the coaches have faith in this crew.”
Watch Team GB’s bobsledders in action on Saturday on Eurosport 1 from 12.30am.