Slider Crowley to call on Usain Bolt's Beijing heroics at Winter Olympics

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Crowley won the prestigious second-tier Europa Cup in 2017-18 having swapped heptathlon for skeleton.
Crowley won the prestigious second-tier Europa Cup in 2017-18 having swapped heptathlon for skeleton.

Brogan Crowley hopes to call on the greatest sporting moments of Olympic past as she heads to Beijing 2022 in search of more skeleton silverware, writes Milly McEvoy.

The 27-year-old from Oldham has been officially selected to represent Team GB in the women’s skeleton and will be part of history as the Chinese capital becomes the first city to host the Summer and Winter Olympic Games.

And for the former heptathlete, Usain Bolt’s golden 100m success at Beijing 2008 is an abiding memory of the last Games to be held in the city.

“I don't remember a lot of 2008,” said Crowley, who is one of over 1,000 athletes who are able to train full-time, access the world’s best coaches and benefit from pioneering technology, science and medical support thanks to vital National Lottery funding.

“But the thing that I remember the most was Usain Bolt because I know that's when he came onto the scene and was just breaking records left, right and centre.

“So that's the one thing that I really remember about Beijing. I guess I was quite young at the time in school, but I remember just watching all sports and Usain Bolt was the standout for me.”

Crowley suffered nerve loss during ankle surgery meaning she can no longer feel her foot, but that hasn't stopped her sliding towards skeleton success
Crowley suffered nerve loss during ankle surgery meaning she can no longer feel her foot, but that hasn't stopped her sliding towards skeleton success

Crowley is the living legacy of Great Britain’s skeleton success, having taken up the sport after Lizzy Yarnold’s triumph in 2014.

Team GB’s women have won a skeleton medal at every Olympics since the discipline was reintroduced in 2002, including Olympic champions Amy Williams and Yarnold.

And Crowley, who is hoping to add to the 1,000-plus medals achieved by British athletes since the advent of National Lottery funding to elite sport in 1997, added: “Lizzy and Amy have stayed around a lot and mentored us, it's hugely inspiring.

“Especially for me as a woman, you don't always have incredible female idols within sport, but to have themn skeleton has been amazing for me.”

“The message a lot of the time that we get given is to enjoy it and appreciate it. At the end of the day, it is just another race.

“I did my first World Champs last year, which was my first four-heat race, the Olympics is the same set-up.

"It's no different to anything else. There's just more eyes on you and watching you, so everything should be the same.

“There shouldn't be any new routines or anything like that.

“That’s the message that we've been given, really, to just take it one step at a time, embrace everything and enjoy it.

No one does more to support our Olympic and Paralympic athletes than National Lottery players, who raise more than £30 million each week forgood causesincluding grassroots and elite sport. Discover the positive impact playing the National Lottery has at www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk and get involved by using the hashtag: #TNLAthletes

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