Watching Brad Hall and his colleagues in 2022/23, you might be forgiven for assuming their path to success has been a smooth one.But when Hall broke records and rewrote British bobsleigh history in early 2023, he did so having overcome a remarkable series of setbacks.Now, the BEAA Athletes’ Athlete of the Month for February 2023 has revealed how he and his teammates overcame adversity to achieve unprecedented on-track success.“One of my push athletes, Nick Gleeson, has moved over to become a pilot, so we lost one of our best brakemen,” he says. “We needed to recruit some people last summer and Arran Gulliver stepped in. We thought our starts would take a hit this year and that would put us out of contention for winning medals this year, and then we’d look to move on.“But since our first race in November, we had the fastest start, so he [Gulliver] moulded into the team really well… We knew it was going to be a special season. We knew we’d be winning medals, but to win the European Championships, [finish] second in the World Championships and to be consistently at the top all season was a bit more of a surprise.”That surprise is no wonder. Hall and his bobsleigh peers lost their funding in 2019 and became self-managed, then three athletes required surgery and they had to work their way through the Covid-19 pandemic.

In the 2022 Winter Olympics however Hall still finished 11th and sixth in the two- and four-man bobsleigh respectively, and has now made history with his feats in the World and European Championships.“A lot of people don’t see what you go through,” he says. “They just see this team’s come out of nowhere and is starting to be successful, but the journey we’ve had to go on to get there has been ridiculously tough. But it makes it so much more rewarding when you do get through it all and start to reap those rewards.”As captain and pilot, Hall holds a unique position when the going gets tough: “It’s my responsibility to keep the team together, keep them focused on the right things and to make sure we’re developing in the right way,” he says.“I’m in charge of the sled and how we develop our sleds and equipment, choosing the right things for each week and how we’re going to develop things and make them faster. And it’s my job to get all the other athletes on board to see that vision.“It can be tough, especially when you have a few rough days where you’ve taken a few hits down the track and the athletes are feeling a bit weary and tired, but you’ve got to have a good bunch of guys with you. Luckily that’s what I’ve got to help support me as best as possible.“We’re a team that likes to have a bit of fun behind the scenes so we have a good balance between being serious and being silly. We know when to take things seriously and when not to, and the guys appreciate when I’m serious and need to get things done.”The race isn’t yet won for Hall, though, and with three years until the Milano Cortina Olympics, his team remain focused on improving.“There’s still a lot we can do to improve our starts going into next season, and we’re doing a lot to try and do things in research and development to help make our sleds and runners fast, so we have a competitive advantage over the rest of the nations.“We know we need to catch up on the Germans, who still have the best sleds in the world. There’s plenty of things we can do to help improve and hopefully that will cement us as one of the best teams in Great Britain of all time.”||


Athlete advice

Brad Hall: How Team Hall overcame adversity before historic bobsleigh season

2023-03-10 16:38:15
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