Bobsleigh starlet Nikki McSweeney goes from North Marston to North America in her bid to make the 2014 Winter Olympics this Sunday.
The 23-year-old Aylesbury Vale athlete dreams of making it to Sochi, Russia, for the Winter Games in February but has to prove herself first in a series of events to earn her place as brakeman for Team GB.
She starts out in Calgary for the America Cup races then moves on to Park City in America for the World Cup.
McSweeney has started well, though, making it on to the Olympic long list, which means she is one of the athletes that may well go to the Olympics.
The bobsleigher is also hoping to better last year’s bronze medal at the next Junior World Championships in what promises to be an action-packed year ahead and one McSweeney is relishing.
“To make the Olympics would be the start of my dream,” she said.
“Since I was little I always used to watch the Olympics, and dream that one day that would be me standing on top of the podium with the gold medal. To get to Sochi would give me a chance to make that dream come true. To get to the Olympics I first have to help my driver qualify a place.
“Up until January we are competing, each race giving us points. By January if we top 14 in the world, it qualifies a place in the Olympics. Then for me to reach I have to be the fastest brakeman in the team to secure the position.”
And she says she couldn’t do it without the support of family and friends in Aylesbury Vale.
“Bobsleigh is a demanding sport, not only training, but on season looking after your sled, being the mechanic, pusher and lifter. It is a 24 hour commitment all year.
“So support of family and friends is priceless. Dad and mum have been amazing, especially dad when I’ve been through tough times he has always been one I can call.
“Friends have always got my back on season cheering me on from miles away! It great to have a support network, so support from the Vale would be nothing i can describe in words!”
+ Follow Nikki on Twitter