From standing guard outside Buckingham Palace to helping set a world speed record, British bobsleigh pilot Lamin Deen is a man who relishes responsibility.
Certainly no bad thing when he will have the lives of him and his three teammates in his hands for this weekend’s Olympic four-man competition in PyeongChang.
Hurtling down a tunnel of ice at break neck speed, there is no getting away from the blunt truth – bobsleigh is a dangerous game.
It is also an exhilarating thrill, packed tightly into a fibreglass and steel sled with gravity taking hold.
Last November Deen was part of the British quartet who clocked a new world record top speed of 92mph on the way to World Cup silver in Whistler.
A full-time athlete since 2012, he used to combine bobsleigh duties with being in the military, and served with the Grenadier Guards in Bosnia and Kosovo but it’s staying ice cool on the track which is the 36-year-old’s main priority now.
“I tell you, when you are going at that speed, once you get halfway down the track, the rest is a blur, it’s just muscle memory,” said Deen, who is making his second Olympic appearance after finishing 19th in Sochi.
“Imagine sticking your head out of the car going at 99mph on a motorway, that’s what it’s like.
“You’ve got to rely on your visualisation. You should do it at least ten times before you go off.
“When you do get to the point where you cannot react to what you see, you are just a passenger and your hands just do it for you and you’ve got to trust in your sled as well.”
Britain’s two four-man squads arrived in PyeongChang with their usual swaggering confidence. Both quartets have medalled on the World Cup circuit with Brad Hall’s team taking a bronze before Deen’s did silver.
Across the six training runs this week however neither have yet hit top gear – Deen finishing inside the top ten on just half of the runs.
There were encouraging signs yesterday with Team Hall – made up of Hall, Greg Cackett, Nick Gleeson and Joel Fearon – recording the quickest push start time closely followed by Deen, Andrew Matthews, Toby Olubi and Ben Simons.
“As a crew, we’ve broken it down. First of all we need to be within the top five starters in the world so need need to be up there on the push start,” added Deen.
“The guys, and myself, are pushing well and we’re driving well.
“Just being on the outside gives you more to fight for as we’re a fighting crew. We can defend when we need to but we always like to fight.”
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