Early DQ fuelled gold medal push – Russell
National bobsledder Carrie Russell says that while the opening-round disqualification at the Women’s Monobob World Series was a setback, it gave her extra motivation throughout the rest of the competition, which eventually led to her first win of the 2021 season.
Russell won gold on the final day of the series, held in Park City, Utah, on Sunday with a time of 1:49:08 minutes, denying American Nicole Vogt a third successive win in the series. She finished second in 1:49:27 minutes, while Brazilian Marina Silva came third in 1:49:83 minutes.
The former 100m sprinter faced challenges from the start. She was disqualified from the opening round on Friday because of her sled being over the maximum weight limit of 247kg (according to International Bobsled and Skeleton Federation [ISBF] rules).
Russell said that they were not given clarity prior to the start of the competition, but used the moment as fuel for the next two races.
“We didn’t have a full understanding of the whole weight issue with the sled. We were asking all along and nobody was giving us a response per se. The first round, we were three ounces over [the required] weight. So that’s a disqualification there and then,” Russell told The Gleaner. “I told myself [that] regardless what is going on here, I have to make the best of what we have. That was my mindset and the mindset changed at the moment to come and get a medal, because of the situation I was placed in.”
Vogt went on to win on the opening day, and while Russell could not prevent the American from capturing a second victory on Saturday, she finished second in 1:49:18 seconds. Russell’s final-day performance was highlighted by her opening run of 54:13 seconds, the fastest among the seven-person field. Russell had to combat a number of factors before the start of the series as she had limited practice time on the track, compared to the majority of competitors, who were based in Utah from last November. Russell only arrived earlier this month.
“They were there from the 24th of November. We arrived on the first of January and we had to do four-day quarantine, and we literally started sliding [last]Tuesday and Wednesday, and starting racing the Thursday,” she said.
With eyes towards next year’s Winter Olympics in Beijing, China, Russell hopes that the performance will yield much-needed financial support that will allow for more events this year and for the overall Olympic campaign.
“Myself, my management team, we are trying to work on gaining sponsorship ... this would be a big plus for me,” Russell said. “So, we are trying to put things in place for 2022 and it cannot start [in] 2022. It has to begin from before. You have to have the right equipment, the right nutritional plan, the right coaching staff, the right mindset. So, you have to do the preparation from now.”
Russell, who was a member of a gold medal-winning Jamaica 4x100m team at the 2013 World Championships, switched from athletics to bobsled in 2016 and has competed at the Winter Olympics in 2018 as a member of the first all-women’s bobsled team from Jamaica to compete at the Games that year.