Fire on ice

Fire on ice

Cool runnings as Carrie Russell melts competition at Monobob World Series Bobsleigh

Observer writer

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

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After Sunday's win in the Women's Monobob World Series Bobsleigh in Park City, Utah, Jamaica's Carrie Russell is eagerly looking forward to the rest of the series.

Russell, a former sprinter who transitioned from track and field to bobsleigh a few years ago, was dissatified with her second-placed finish on Saturday and told the Jamaica Observer she strategised with her coaches and teammates and got the win on Sunday.

She had a combined time of 1:49.08 minutes over her two runs — 54.13 and 54.95 seconds to beat one of the four American sleds in the competition driven by Nicole Vogt (1:49.27) with Brazil's Marina Silva Tuono third overall with a combined 1:49.83 minutes.

The plan, Russell said, was to go out hard and force the others to “drive me down...and it worked”.

Russell has received commendations from the veteran American Coach Pat Brown who has been working with the Jamaican Bobsleigh Federation since 1987.

“Carrie been a real pleasure to work with,” Brown said. “[She is a] high-calibre athlete, that is half the problem, and we just have to teach her the finer points of driving the bobsled is now what we have to work on,” he noted.

Russell made the switch from track and field around 2016 when she was the brakewoman for Jazmine Fenlator, but only started driving in 2018. Brown said her experience and enthusiasm made her good to work with.

“Yesterday [Saturday], I was second and went back with the coach, me and teammate Audra Segree and we strategised,” Russell said.

“We said we have to go back with a new game plan as I know that I can win this race and we made the chanages, because what we are good at is starting, and I have to capitalise on that and that is what we did, beat them from the start and make them try to catch us up at the end,” she added.

The plan worked to perfection as Russell opened up a big lead.

“I set a huge gap and they had to try and drive me down and if there was any mistakes I gave myself enough space to work with because of the big gap that I opened up,” she said.

Looking forward, Russell, a World Championships relay gold medallist in Moscow, Russia, in 2013, said: “Now I have to prepare for the rest of the season, hunting for support for the federation to make sure that we have ice time that we can slide like every one else, the Americans, the Canadians, the Germans and the Brazillians. We have three more races in Park City and four more in Lake Placid and hopefully I can get some ice time in Canada and also in Utah.”

Her preparation got off to a slow start, she said, due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“We had to wait for clearance and right now I am grateful and I thank God that I am here and can be on ice,” Russell stated.

She said that things had progressed smoothly despite limited time on the ice, crediting the forward step to team effort.

“Right now we corelate with many programmes, and we have coaches for driving and pushing, and everybody knows that I am a part of the MVP track club which is where I do my track work and weight work,” Russell shared.

Under the guidance of Coach Wayne Thomas, she said the team had been doing a lot of work to ensure that “I capitalise on that because that is where we are good at as Jamaicans”.

“We are fast and strong and we have to make use of that as we don't have easy access to ice like the others, so we have to make use of what we have,” Russell reasoned.

In the time they had been in Park City, Russell said after a four-day quarantine, they had been on the ice for just five days.

“Two of the days were training and three were racing, the more I slide the more I become consistent,” she ended.

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