When Montell Douglas embarks on her first run in the two-women bobsleigh she will have achieved something no British woman has achieved before.
Some 14 years after she lined up to run the 100m – coincidentally also in Beijing - Douglas is set to become the first woman to represent GB at both Summer and Winter Games.
Headline makers have been few and far between for Team GB thus far at these Games, so the 36-year-old’s place in the history books perhaps deserves to more of the spotlight.
'We had to risk it all and we did' - Humphries and Love after Beijing efforts
“Yeah, extremely proud,” the 36-year-old told Eurosport. “And I actually didn't get a lot of time to reflect on it at the time [of qualifying].
“It's very much a whirlwind. We were very much focused on qualifying, the team and getting out.
“Just to be out here now and soak it all in - you don't get to experience many Olympic Games' I guess. Very few get to than one, but then also even fewer in summer and winter and I just feel honoured.
“I feel really blessed to be here and I can't wait to actually go out there now and compete.”
- Dave Ryding: the man who put British skiing on the map – Best of Beijing
- Can Team GB get on the medal table in Beijing? Curling leads hopes for the podium
- From a back garden to Beijing - how DIY helped McNeill and Douglas reach the Olympics
In July of 2008, Douglas ran her personal best of 11.05 in the 100m, breaking the British women's record and sealing her first Olympic voyage in the process.
In Beijing, she narrowly missed out on the semi-final of the 100m by five hundredths of a second and a baton mishap in the 4x100m relay final meant her experience was ultimately one of disappointment.
She bounced back to claim gold as part of the 4x100m team at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi two years later.
She also competed at World Championships, and European indoor and outdoor championships but in 2016, she made the bold decision to switch sports to bobsleigh and after making the reserve list for Pyeongchang in 2018, she was chosen for the two-person event alongside pilot Mica McNiell.
“Having already been sprinting for 30 years, later on in my career, not really thinking about another sport – I thought one was enough to be honest.
“But to transition in, I loved it, I love anything fast. I love mechanical stuff, I like cars, things like that. So for me, it was everything actually around bobsleigh that I literally loved. I remember being in the garage asking ‘what does that do?’.
“And now I'm at probably the position where Mica could probably leave me with the sled and I can sort it out for her!”
Mica McNeil and Montell Douglas
Image credit: Eurosport
Although she has previous experience of working in a team when running relays, the majority of Douglas’ sprint career was working on her own performance without thinking about anyone else - something she is glad to change following her switch.
“That's kind of what drew me in especially as well, that we were a team. I've always been in an individual sport.
“So although it was later on in life, and I had to learn so many different things like the push, my running and pushing this heavy, heavy object was a complete change to my training, and I've loved every moment of it and the challenge that it's brought.”
Douglas and McNeill’s first run will be on Friday 18 February at 8:00pm local time (12:00pm UK time).
Watch every moment of the Games on discovery+.
‘The greatest bobsleigher of all time!’ – Friedrich does the double-double again
‘A fantastic Games!’ – Hall’s Team GB sled lays down a marker in final run
Share this article