Confession: I am not a thrill seeker. However, I’ve enjoyed my fair share of thrilling activities – ice climbing, camel riding, zip lining, indoor skydiving and bobsledding with Olympians – so the proof of my adventurous side would have you believe otherwise.
During my time in Calgary, Alberta, I had the opportunity to explore the Winsport Canada facility at Canada Olympic Park, a legacy of the 1988 Winter Olympics in that city.
Winsport Canada hosts many national sports organizations, amateur athlete training facilities, and a sports academy for kids to develop in winter sports. There’s also family-fun recreational activities onsite, such as mini-golf, a luge track, skiing & snowboarding, a climbing tower, euro bungee, a zip line suspended from the former Olympic ski jump, and the bobsleigh run.
Bobsledding with Olympians
When the host invited me to try the bobsleigh run, I was a little nervous. You can obtain speeds of over 90 km an hour on this course, and that was in the summer, on wheels. On winter ice it would be even faster, just like it would be at the Winter Olympics. Was I prepared for this speed rush?
Lucky for me, I was in the very capable hands of a certified bobsleigh pro: Australian Olympic Team member and athlete Heath Spence. After running & pushing the sleigh, he jumped in behind me. As we gained speed (and dropped down the run), Heath literally held my head in place as we rounded sharp corners, preventing it from bouncing off the metal guides of the sled. And all of this while steering the bobsleigh as we careened down Calgary’s Olympic run in just over one minute.
I’m eternally grateful for Heath keeping me safe and sound, and my head bump and headache-free. After all, bobsleigh speeds can exceed 100km or 60 miles per hour, and approach 5 Gs of centrifigal force. This is not a sport or activity for the faint-hearted. I still can’t believe that I actually managed to go down the bobsleigh run. Yes, I would recommend doing it, as it is a hugely thrilling experience. More importantly, you will gain admiration and respect for the sport of bobsleigh, and the athletes who love it.
The Winter Olympics are here. I’ll be watching and cheering on Team Canada of course, but I’ll also be rooting for all the dedicated athletes who’ve been training all of their lives for this shot at sporting glory.
You can follow and cheer on Heath Spence at his twitter account: @aussiebobsleigh
Photo Credits: C. Laroye
Disclosure: The travelling mom thanks Winsport Canada and Canada Olympic Park for the opportunity to experience the bobsleigh run. As always, our opinions ar honest and our own.
Have you ever done a thrill-sport like bobsledding? What did you think about the experience? Share your comments below.