An Olympic Silver Medallist and a mum of one, skeleton bobsleigh racer, Shelley Rudman, talks military ice camps, opening water flumes in Blackpool, and the importance of a good massage!
How did you first get into the world of Skeleton Bobsleigh racing – it’s not exactly the standard activity in Wiltshire?
I went to two universities to study Sports Science – Bath University and St Mary’s in Twickenham. While I was at Bath I met and made friends with quite a few of the skeleton athletes who were based there and became aware of the sport and it’s requirements. I then moved to Twickehnham, but stayed in touch with a few of the athletes from Bath and one day went to visit them. One had a training session at the Bath push track and I went along to see how the skeleton athletes trained. To cut a long story short, I ended up having a go at the push start and loved it. I tried out for the British development team in 2002, but didn’t make the squad. I then enrolled onto a military ice camp in Norway to try the sport fully, and while there I excelled quite quickly and decided to fund myself and travel around Europe with some military athletes getting ice time and teaching myself on different tracks. The following year, in 2003, I then went for GB development team selection again and made the team. From there I gradually rose through the ranks and qualified for the Turin Olympics in 2006 where I won my Olympic silver medal.
What’s been the best moment in your career so far?
Even though winning my Olympic medal in Turin was incredible and very special to me, I think the moment that means the most was winning the World Championships this year in St Moritz and being the first British female ever to do so. It’s also the birthplace of our sport and my favourite track on the circuit so very special. When I knew I had won it was as if a weight had been lifted from my shoulders because I’ve now achieved everything in the sport I dreamed of.
What’s been the strangest moment in your career?
Possibly being asked to officially open a water flume in Blackpool! I was given a bodyguard and part of the requirement was that I had to officially go on a new flume, which meant that the bodyguard had to go on it with me. It was very funny, especially at the end when we were all eating canapés whilst wearing swimwear!
Surveys have shown that young girls are often put off sport by their experiences at school – what would you say to give them the confidence to get involved?
What happened at school, happened back at school! It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t get involved in exercise just because of that bad experience. There are SO many activities out there to try, and I’m a firm believer that there is a sporting activity out there for everyone which they can really enjoy, you just need to find it! Anything from swimming, Zumba, netball, gym, running, yoga …there are so many sports out there! Go with a friend and have a good giggle, or if you want more focused activities look into individual sports that you think would suit you better. You will feel so much better in the long run by staying active, but keep searching for the one that suits you!
Do you have a favourite spa treatment?
I absolutely love having a good deep massage, and I always feel great afterwards. It’s the one thing I make sure I have once a week to keep on top of everything.
How do you relax?
I like to take a holiday or two every year in a hot climate where I can eat fresh food, relax in the sunshine and get some good sleep and recovery in. While I am at home or racing a really hot aromatherapy bath always does the trick too!
What do you do to give yourself a boost when your confidence is taking a battering?
It depends on the situation and the cause, but usually a good spot of retail therapy always helps make things better!
When are you at your happiest?
When I am around my family and friends. I also love being around genuine, happy people having a laugh … or dance!
When do you feel at your most confident?
On the start line of a race, I always feel that I’ve done everything I could to prepare myself for a race.
What’s your top tip for looking and feeling your best when you have a hectic schedule?
Making sure you get a good night’s sleep and a highly nutritious meal will get you though any busy period!
Tell us one nice thing you are going to do for yourself this week?
Have an hour-long sports massage.
Complete this sentence: A happy woman is … a woman confident in her own skin.
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