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YOG on the Road speaks to British bobsleigh rising star Mica McNeill

Jazmin Sawyer (L) and Mica McNeill (R) at the Innsbruck 2012 Youth Olympic Games
©2012 - IOC

28/05/2013

2012 was a year to remember for 19-year-old bobsledder Mica McNeill! After winning silver for Team Great Britain at the first-ever Winter Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck, Mica was quick to add a bronze to her medal haul at the Junior World Bobsleigh Championship. Today, the young sliding sensation has her sights firmly set on the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

The YOG medallist, who will have to wait until December to find out whether she has made Team GB for next year’s Games, found some time between her studies and training to answer our questions.

How did you get into your sport and what do you love about it?

I got into bobsleigh through my school. I attended a ‘try something new day’ one weekend, which was on the dry push track. Nicola Minichiello was world champion at the time and the top female bobsleigh driver for GB. She asked me to try out at testing over the summer and I did and it all just went from there. I really love bobsleigh as a whole; I enjoy the speed and adrenaline rush but I also love how every track is different and there is always something new.

What did you learn at the Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck?

In Innsbruck at the Winter YOG, I learned a lot, but the main thing was how to deal with a big competition: from preparing the sled to preparing yourself physically and mentally, and learning how to deal with pressure and competition. 

Are you aiming for Sochi? If so, what are you doing this summer to prepare?

I am definitely aiming for Sochi! It would be an amazing thing to be selected. This summer, I have a lot of training planned. It will be a mixture of both sprint training and weight training to get as fast and strong as possible. GB bobsleigh are also running a lot of training camps and organising testing weekends so I will also be attending those. 

How do you balance sport, education, social life, etc.?

It's a difficult thing to balance all these things, especially at the age I was at the Winter YOG as other people my age were doing everything they wanted to do. But if you are really passionate about something and want to succeed, you will put what isn't important aside and focus on what is important. When I am in season, I put aside a little time each day to do school work and put social life aside until I have done my day’s training and school work. It's making sure there is a balance in everything you do. 

What’s your breakfast of champions?

My favourite breakfast is marmite on toast or some sort of omelette. 

Who inspires you?

I don't have one single person who inspires me. There are many people who are inspiring, like those who work extremely hard to get where they want to be. 

Any words of wisdom for those young athletes hoping to compete in the Youth Olympic Games?

My words of wisdom would be: always work hard for what you want because if you give up on what you really want because it gets too tough, you will look back and regret it. If you push through it, it will be worth it in the end! :)

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