Blanchet embracing life in the bobsleigh since rugby switch

Blanchet embracing life in the bobsleigh since rugby switch
By Sportsbeat

11/05/2017 at 17:03

Sam Blanchet says he is loving every minute as a Great Britain bobsleigh athlete after switching sports from rugby union last year.

Blanchet, 24, excelled for England at the Hong Kong Sevens in 2014, and also represented Exeter Chiefs in the Premiership, before taking up bobsleigh after falling out of love with the game.

He was introduced to the winter sport while injured, and went to an English Institute of Sport testing day at Bisham Abbey, before being invited to a two-day training camp by GB's bobsleigh coach Chris Woolley.

"From the moment I attended my first bobsleigh training camp, I knew it was something that I wanted to do, and do well," said Blanchet, who made February's World Championship squad in his first year in the sport.

"I could have kept playing professional rugby but the big thing when you play sport at a high level is that you have to enjoy it.

"The guys who are the best always enjoy it. I’d had a tonne of injuries and probably missed as many games as I'd played.

"I'd fallen out of love with rugby because of that. I lost that enjoyment and, as a consequence, I wasn't playing very well.

"It was a tough move in a way but I had full confidence in myself that I could make something of it. Although I'd only done three days' worth of bobsleigh training before making the switch, I had a really good feeling that it would be something that I’d enjoy. I already love the sport and that definitely helps."

He finished on the podium twice in the North American Cup, while appearing in six of the eight World Cup races, finishing eighth in the four-man event in Pyeongchang, South Korea, the venue for next year's Olympics.

And Blanchet harbors hopes of competing at Pyeongchang 2018, but insists he is taking his new career one step at a time after an impressive debut season in the sport.

"I set myself a number of targets during the year and the first was to get in the top eight at push track rankings in the summer," he said.

"I did well there and surprised a few people. I was then working with Bruce Tasker at the North American Cup and we started well and finished well there - he’s a phenomenal athlete.

"The World Cup was then the big thing for me, followed by the World Championships.

"It would be amazing to go back there for the Olympics but I don't like to think too far ahead.

"The Olympic dream played a part in me moving over to bobsleigh but it wasn’t the be all and end all.

"I fell in love with this sport from the moment I tried it and that's what's driving me forward through the summer."

Sportsbeat 2017