Daniel is an aspiring athlete from County Durham in North East England; currently on trials for the Team GB Skeleton Bobsleigh development squad. He talks to Sundried about this interesting sport and his intentions for the future.
Tell us about the sport of skeleton bobsleigh.
Skeleton is an unusual sport to say the least. It involves pushing a sled on ice (in a bent-down sprinting position) for about 30m before diving head first onto the sled and piloting it down a bobsleigh track. Skeleton is one of Britain’s most successful winter sports on the world stage and at the Olympics, which is my aspiration.
Tell us about your background.
I can be easily described as a unique individual. I’ve had trouble with balance, coordination, writing and learning my whole life. Moving from sport to sport until succeeding at a decent standard in Rugby union and nationally in cross country. It wasn’t until I was 18 that I was diagnosed with moderate-severe dyslexia and dyspraxia (a condition which effects coordination, movement, learning, thought processing, proprioception and sensory disassociation) but at a very high functioning level. My level of function was suggested to be the result of deliberate conditioning and training I did from childhood onward.
Since then, I’ve graduated with a BSc in Sport and Exercise Science and a Masters in Sport Nutrition, published and presented research internationally, worked with professional athletes, sports teams and youth development programmes both in the UK and in New Zealand. Additionally, I’ve competed in Rugby XV’s and 7’s in the UK and New Zealand, competed as a rock climber and won bronze in a national kayaking competition.
When did you first get into skeleton bobsleigh?
It was last year I took the opportunity to trial in a talent ID programme for Skeleton Bobsleigh. With three months to train whilst studying and working (putting on 8kg of mass to shift from climbing to skeleton), I was able to impress coaches on my two trials and have been asked to attend a call-back trial in December 2019.
I am now putting my all into preparing for that trial, using all the skills and experience from my work life to make my dream a reality, and soon with institutional backing.
How do you train for skeleton bob?
Most of my training involves a lot of work on the athletics track; I will even be competing in several indoor athletics opens this year to help hone my competitive edge.
What do you do to relax?
At home, weekends are usually spent clearing windfall and using it for woodworking projects. Relaxing usually entails beekeeping, gardening, tracking wildlife, getting willow wreaths ready for Christmas and holidays are going up to Scotland to explore, hike, climb, fish and kayak. I was brought up to respect and admire nature; my family home is only about 15m away from miles of woodland.
Why work with Sundried?
The marriage of effectiveness, style and ethical values is something I would be proud to promote as an ambassador.