Fitzwilliam Physiotherapist Makes History


One of the physiotherapists who is in high demand is sports injury and back pain expert Ashley Watson who joined the hospital early last year. As well as being a physio Ashley is also an Olympian who competed in last year’s winter Olympics in the four-man

bobsleigh competition representing Jamaica. He joined the hospital in January 2022 and two days later flew out to Bejing to compete. Ashley grew up in Peterborough and is one of those very fortunate people who is good at all sports. He played cricket and

football at academy level whilst at school and competed as a 100m runner at county level. Fast (particularly over short distances) and powerful, he considered rugby but ‘I always wanted to be an international athlete and an Olympian.’ Whilst competing he met another athlete who he got chatting to who was in the British bobsleigh team and suggested he take part in the time trials, which he duly did. Ashley is strong, powerful and fast so was perfect to be a bobsleigh athlete and succeeded in the time trials and was picked for the team. He completed with the GB team until 2017.

Ashley is the brakeman on the side handle and the third man in the sled who is the strongest athlete. Ashley had his own sports therapist business where he treated many athletes. And he had recently done his masters and qualified as a physio. It would seem that the world of being an international athlete was now behind him. But fate had other ideas. ‘One of my patients got chatting to me and it turned out he was in the Jamaican bobsleigh team and lived in Peterborough,’ says Ashley. ‘He suggested I join him for a session when he realised I had experience so we went down to Bath university to train.’ And that was how Ashley became an Olympian. Against the odds the Jamaican team qualified to compete in the four-man bobsleigh competition 24 years after they last qualified (they made a film about that, Cool Runnings). They used a 15-year-old sled and trained for just three months at Bath as it’s the only place in the country with the facility.

Ashley was part of the biggest winter Olympic team that Jamaica has ever sent and has become a part become a part of sporting history; quite an achievement.