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Royal Marine sets his sights on Olympic bobsleigh glory

28 January 2022
Royal Marine Taylor Lawrence has set his sights on bobsleigh glory at his debut Winter Olympics after selection for Team GB ahead of the Beijing games next month.

The 25-year-old was initially asked to help out an injury-plagued GB squad in 2019 but in the last two years has become a mainstay in the four-man bobsleigh team that now heads to the Olympics in China full of confidence. 

Lawrence and his teammates come fresh from a World Cup season that saw them collect six medals – across four-man and two-man events – to become one of the most successful British teams in 30 years. 

The commando joins fellow military man, paratrooper Nick Gleeson, in the GB sled in China alongside pilot Brad Hall and fellow brakeman Greg Cackett.  

Gleeson, Hall and Cackett helped Team GB to a 17th-place finish in the Olympics in South Korea four years’ ago, but alongside Olympic debutant Lawrence are eyeing a podium finish in Beijing.

 “If you ask anyone in the team our aspiration this year is to come away with a medal, winning both the two and four man disciplines,” Lawrence said. “That’s 100 per cent what we’re aiming for.

“Preparation has been good this year. We’ve had multiple World Cup medals and top one and two starts. All of those things have helped with the motivation.

“We know the kit works. We know we work well as a crew. We know we can push and drive well. The preparation couldn’t have been more perfect going into the games.”

Lawrence put his military career on hold for a shot at sporting triumph at the Olympics, but knows he has the Royal Marines family at his back as he heads for Beijing.

“Since I qualified for the games, there’s been an influx of support from people who are still serving and those who aren’t,” he said. 

“It’s been overwhelming. It’s been amazing to know those people have been watching and are supporting all the way to race day.”

The marine from Westgate-on-Sea in Kent is planning to savour every moment of the games, which begin on Friday with the four-man bobsleigh competition starting two weeks later on 19 and 20 February. 

“This being my first games, I’m just looking forward getting into the village, soaking it all up and enjoying every moment of it,” he said, while at a pre-Olympics training camp in Germany.

“I’ve now got the kit, so it’s great to be wearing the lion on my chest, but when we get there nothing will change in terms of our preparation or what we do. 

“We’ve been doing well all season, so we’ve just got to keep doing it and hopefully come away with medals.”

Lawrence played football and rugby with the Royal Marines and while playing the latter was spotted for his bobsleigh potential. 

Being 6ft 4in and quick, Lawrence had the right stature to become a bobsleigher and scarcely looked back.

 “It is so unique and so different,” he said. “You can't describe the feeling of going down the track or what it is like until you actually get into it. It is such a niche sport that not a lot of people do that that is one of the things that drew me towards it. 

“Obviously you have got the speed element of it, the danger element of it as well, the fact it is just so different and it is a cool sport to do. That is what drew me in, and what has kept me here now."

Lawrence and his teammates are now heading to Beijing for the start of the games.

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