The stories behind the Canadian teams and their names for their sleds


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When Christine de Bruin first tried out the monobob, she struggled to get her sled down on the track.

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“He didn’t react like a normal sled. Every time I hit a wall it felt like the world was ending and I was on the side of the track wasting a lot of time, ”said the 32-year-old bobsleigh pilot from Stony Plain, Alta.

She named the sled El Diablo in recognition of her hellish performances.

But a year later, de Bruin has a lot more experience in the sled and has tamed it enough to become a regular in the top five on the World Monobob Series circuit.

“This season I like driving monos a lot more and now his name remains the same, but in a positive way,” she said. “That little devil is fast now.”

Bobsledders and sliders around the world regularly name their sleds. Here’s a look at a few other nicknames for the Canadian team and the reasons behind them:

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Skeleton athlete Jane Channell

Phoenix or Nix

“I got this sled for the 2019-20 season, the year after I was kicked out of the world championship squad on my home track. I was absolutely crushed and devastated. I wasn’t sure if I was going to keep sliding but I still had a passion for it and had more to give.

“My sled has a phoenix rising behind me where I have a glow in my chest, a nod to my 2018 Olympic helmet, With Glowing Hearts, which was also the motto of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. The art on my sleigh is titled From the Ashes, I’ll rise. It’s about starting over and going back to the beginning, remembering why I started sliding in the first place; it’s funny.

“Ian Johnson, an artist from Vancouver, did all of my art, they are all personalized and connected. From my sled to my sled case and my first helmet with the dragon, to my 2018 Olympic helmet, if you look closely you can see they all have details that tie them all together.

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Skeleton athlete Madison Charney

Beverly or Bev

“After my grandma, because they are both very sweet but can also be a bit sassy.”

Bobsleigh pilot Justin Kripps

The quartet is called Jerry Bomb.

“The year we had the sled, we won the four-man World Cup in St. Moritz, which had always been a dream of mine. Part of the prizes were Jeroboams (three-liter bottles) of Champagne. We kept one and shipped it home and started an annual party. The four of us pledged to come together and do so forever to commemorate our victory in St. Moritz, as well as our time together as a team. At the first, we blew up the original Jeroboam and decided to name the Jerry Bomb sled accordingly.

The duo is called Matador 2.

“The story is not that cool. Matador was a powerful and legendary element in a video game that I played with my teammates. I named my first sled BTC because of how powerful the sled was on the track. I knew from my first descent how much faster it was than my previous snowmobile and I gave it that name. After winning gold in 2018, I wanted to keep the name alive so I passed the name on to my new BTC sled to keep the mojo.

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Bobsleigh brake Sam Giguère

Ulysses or Ulysses

Giguère, a brakeman in the four-man sled piloted by Chris Spring, named it after his children’s hamster, which came to an untimely end last August.

Giguère and his family had traveled to Calgary, where they combined his training at the Ice House with a vacation. The hamster was left with Giguère’s sister-in-law, whose children loved to play with. Two days later he was in his cage on the side.

“Just dead. Cold, dead, said Giguère.

Her sister-in-law embarked on a frantic search for a replacement and was happy to find a decent facsimile. Or at least she thought so.

“It turned out that at the pet store, she didn’t take a good look at it, she just said it was the same color, I’m going to catch it,” said Giguère. “This hamster had a deformity. It was missing a front paw.

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Giguère’s children were okay with the replacement and the team were happy to commemorate the dead rodent by naming the sled Ulyss.

Bobsleigh pilot Cynthia Appiah

My daughters and I always try to name my two-man sled. (Pilot Chris Spring) had previously named him Harambe when he had it and I’m desperate to change him. But for my new monoluge, I named it Li’l Sebastian, like in the pony from Parks and Recreation.

Bobsleigh pilot Christine de Bruin

“The name of my two-man sled is Rey. In my second year of driving, I rode a snowmobile called Obi 1. It was the fastest snowmobile around. Fast forward a few years later and I drove Rey for the first time. She felt very similar to Obi 1 and the way she went through the bends and the feeling of pressure in my hands and body. But since this was the new improved version, I decided to name it Rey, the next generation of Jedi. Very cheesy I know, but I like it.

Bobsleigh pilot Alyssia Rissling

“My two-man I bought is Bagheera.

“It was black, so I referred to the black panther from the Jungle Book. Since my mono is a bit smaller, I named it Mowgli, sticking to the jungle book theme.

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