As we announce our sponsorship of bobsleigh athlete Nikki McSweeney, you could be forgiven for wondering how on earth this could have come about. It’s certainly not an obvious fit on the surface, but if you dig a little deeper, I think you’ll be as inspired by Nikki’s goal to compete for Team GB at the 2026 Winter Olympic Games in Italy as we are. This is why we’re backing Nikki…
She’s agile and open to new opportunities
As a young, successful heptathlete, Nikki was scouted to try bobsleigh. It wasn’t something she’d ever considered before, and at first she thought she was part of an elaborate wind-up. But they proved that they were serious and she was impressed with their coaches and setup. Bobsleigh matched her skills well and she relished the challenge to try something completely different.
Bobsleigh is a truly multi-faceted sport, needing power, speed and technical skill, so also fitted well with her experience in heptathlon and equestrian events.
She isn’t deterred by constraints
Winter sports aren’t high profile in the UK, and currently attract very little funding. Training also isn’t easy when you live in a part of the world with no mountains, so Nikki and her teammates have to travel to specialist training facilities at Bath University and abroad leading up to the season. This is obviously expensive, and Nikki has to fund all of this herself. Which brings us on to…
She’s a role model demonstrating that hard work pays off
Out of the training season, Nikki works 14- hour days as a human and veterinary physiotherapist. She set up and runs her own business working with horses and riders at their training grounds, as well as at elite equestrian events like Badminton and Burghley. She works every hour she can as she knows that each one allows her to fund another run down the track, training at Bath or out on season.
During the season she needs £2,500 a week to pay for accommodation, sled and van hire, coaching and all her other expenses such as race fees and ice spikes. It’s hard work, but…
She knows when to persevere, and when to take a break
Nikki has a sensible head on her shoulders. A few years ago, when she was nearing burnout due to the politics and a toxic coaching environment, she had the confidence to step away and take a break from the sport completely to focus on her own well-being and develop her business. Now, she’s back, with the hunger in her belly again and a great team of people around her.
“Getting to the Olympics and ultimately a podium finish is the dream, it’s the goal I train towards. Not only would this be the best finish in British bobsleigh female history, but would raise the profile of bobsleigh itself, and inspire the next generation”
We found out about Nikki’s Olympic bid through her (very proud) dad, who just happens to be ImprovIT consultant, Paul McSweeney.
If you’re inspired by Nikki’s journey and would also like to support her bid to represent GB at the 2026 Winter Olympics, please visit Get Nikki on the road!