The Fitzwilliam Physiotherapy team are delighted to welcome Ashley, the inspirational 2022 Winter Olympian 4-man bobsled Jamaican team member.
Ashley tells an amazing story of how he achieved his childhood dream to become an Olympian, what it means to him and how physiotherapy has helped him and his team on this journey.
Against the odds and for the first time in 24 years, the 4-man bobsled team qualified for Jamaica in the Winter Olympics 2022. With just a 3-month timeframe and a bobsled that was used 15 years ago, this new team made it into the Olympics. Fitzwilliam Physio, Ashley, was the brakeman on the side handle and third person in the team to jump into the sled. Athletes need to be extremely powerful to be on the side handle.
“I had always had a childhood dream of being an international athlete and going to the Olympic Games. I was offered an opportunity to have fitness test trials for the British bobsleigh and it turns out I was pretty well suited to being a bobsleigh athlete. I competed for GB until 2017 and came back as a Jamaican athlete in 2021,” said Ashley.
When asked how it felt to be at the Winter Olympics, Ashley said: “It was surreal. Even now I still haven’t processed it all. It feels strange to be called an Olympian. Personally, it’s an absolute honour to be a part of sporting history as a member of the first Jamaican 4-man bobsled team in 24 years; the largest ever Jamaican Winter Olympic team; and being part of a team that will inspire the next generation of athletes and people around the world to show you can achieve greatness with the right mindset.”
“I feel that bringing back the 4-man bobsled created a lot of joy and happiness for Jamaican people especially in a pandemic. I think our journey reminded people about cool running’s. People appreciated the blood, sweat and tears put into this as well as us carrying on the legacy.”
Ashley joined Fitzwilliam Hospital just two days before flying out to Beijing. His role as a physiotherapist involves helping people affected by injury, illness or disability through movement and exercise, manual therapy, education and advice.
As a physiotherapist, Ashley enjoys helping people overcome and adapt. Lower back pain may seem minor but it can really ruin someone’s life physically and mentally. Being able to help people like this without the use of medication gives Ashley great satisfaction.
Physiotherapy has helped Ashley understand the body in great depth. He has used this knowledge in his and his team mates training regimes. He does a lot of prehabilitation exercises for his hip stabilisers, lower back, knees and feet that are designed to prevent further injuries throughout the season. His team mates also follow his recommended prehabilitation and mobility programmes. He has treated his team when needed and physiotherapy has taught him some useful ways to enhance recovery.
When asked what tips he could give others, Ashley said “Try something new, unique or what you may see as unusual. You never know you could end up being or doing something great. Hang around with people who are positive and have similar goals. Replace excuses with logically planned solutions."