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Young event rider heads for the Olympics — on a bobsleigh

A promising young event rider from Wales has swapped horses for high-speed ice runs and the chance to compete in the bob skeleton at the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Wrexham-based Laura Deas has competed to two-star level in eventing, but is now hurtling head-first down a bobsleigh run.

The 20-year-old was spotted by UK Sport’s talent search Girls4Gold.

She said: “My brother heard about Girls4Gold on Radio 5 Live and so I applied. The speed of my [running] sprint is crucial for bob skeleton. I’m quick over 30m.”

The change of sport comes after Laura’s family were living in a caravan while they built a house and a yard to further her eventing, career.

Laura’s mother Sue said: “With the deaths in eventing, I’m glad she’s leaving. I think she’s probably safer going head-first at 80mph down an ice run on a tea-tray than riding cross-country.”

Laura added: “I love eventing and have worked hard to try to get established. It is ironic that just as I am getting rides for owners — and the house is nearly finished — I am giving it all up. Everything’s for sale.”

Laura starts full-time Olympic squad training in October at Bath University, with her eyes set on winning a medal in 2014 at a town on the Black Sea — Sochi, Russia.

“I’m sure I will miss the horses, but I love bob skeleton,” said Laura. “My initial problem with doing skeleton was that my neck muscles weren’t strong enough and my head was banging on the ice. But now I love it.”

This article was first published in Horse & Hound (9 July, ’09)

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