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            2. Meet the two Welsh athletes competing for the same Olympic bobsleigh spot

              By Tom BrownBBC Sport Wales
              Meet the Welsh athletes aiming for Winter Olympic and Commonwealth Games glory in 2022

              One is back for a second attempt at Olympic glory, the other lost almost 20kg to make the team after first being spotted on social media.

              One would run while the other threw, as for years they would see each other at training or athletics competitions in south Wales.

              Now they are part of Great Britain's women's bobsleigh team, aiming for the Beijing Winter Olympics in February.

              Their attention will then turn to next summer's Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

              Welsh duo Mica Moore and Adele Nicoll are hoping for a 2022 to remember.

              Adele Nicoll (l) and Mica Moore (c) are each hoping to join pilot Mica McNeill (r) in the women's bobsleigh for the Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022.
              Adele Nicoll (l) and Mica Moore (c) are each hoping to join pilot Mica McNeill (r) in the women's bobsleigh for the Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022.

              Mica Moore is no stranger to a bobsleigh.

              The 29-year-old Welsh international sprinter was the brakewoman behind pilot Mica McNeill as the pair overcame having their funding withdrawn to finish eighthexternal-link at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

              Moore then took a break from the sport to do a university masters in sports broadcasting, before returning to the sport in the summer after a chance visit to the push track in Bath as part of a TV programme.

              "I don't want to get to the age of 40 and think I've got some regrets," Moore tells BBC Sport Wales.

              "The pinnacle of everyone's career is the Olympic Games, whether you've been to one before, four before or none.

              "So I thought I'll give it a go, see what I can do - and here I am."

              'I cut 20kg in bodyweight'

              Adele Nicoll is the newcomer. The 25-year-old from Welshpool is a shot putter who has won the last eight Welsh senior titles.

              But after the first coronavirus lockdown left her wanting something new in her life, a chance message dropped into her Instagram inbox last November.

              Mica McNeill had seen videos of Nicoll training and thought she had the attributes to be a good bobsleigh brakewoman.

              It proved to be a sharp insight, given most athletes who come to bobsleigh from track and field - like Nicoll's compatriot Moore - have a sprinting background.

              Nicoll recalls: "She said, 'you look super powerful - have you ever considered giving bobsleigh a go?'

              "I said, 'no, but tell me more'.

              "She said, 'you need to be super strong, super powerful and fast'. I said, 'well, I'm powerful and strong and I can work on the speed'.

              "I had a background of doing lots of different sports as a kid so I knew I'd be able to do it but it was going to be a challenge.

              "I trialled for her team four weeks after the message and it just took off.

              If Britain qualify a sled in the women's bobsleigh, only one athlete will race alongside Mica McNeill at the Winter Olympics.
              If Britain qualify a sled in the women's bobsleigh, only one athlete will race alongside Mica McNeill at the Winter Olympics.

              "I came into the sport 12 months ago at something like 96kg. I've dropped down to 77kg to be able to race with Mica [McNeill], as there's a race weight.

              "So the initial challenge was losing all that weight. Then we got into the specifics of becoming a bobsleigh athlete.

              "I'm absolutely loving it."

              Three athletes - but only one space

              The Welsh duo are currently in Innsbruck, Austria, preparing for the second World Cup race of the season this weekend.

              They are part of a four-strong 'Team McNeill' squad, with one spot available in the bobsleigh behind pilot Mica McNeill on race days.

              The third brakewoman vying for Olympic contention is former sprinter Montell Douglas. She paired up with McNeill for the opening World Cup race last weekend and they finished 16th.

              The team is likely to be rotated throughout the season, with the strongest then partnering McNeill in Beijing in February - if they qualify.

              "The team environment is actually really nice", says Moore.

              "What we've got to remember as well is that Mica has got to qualify that sled. We want that sled to go to the Games, whoever gets it there."

              "We're in a really good position," continues Nicoll. "All three of us pushing each other, keeping each other on our toes.

              "There wouldn't be three of us out here if we weren't all worthy of a spot on the sled."

              For Moore and Nicoll, the Winter Olympics are not the only major event they are dreaming of in 2022.

              Both are hoping to be selected by Team Wales for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

              Moore is targeting a sprint relay spot, while Nicoll already has the consideration standard in the shot put, something she achieved despite the dramatic weight cut she made for her fledgling bobsleigh career.

              "It was definitely a risk for me to take," Nicoll admits. "Knowing the amount of weight I needed to lose and not knowing how that would affect the shot put.

              "But the shot put is a power event that requires speed and strength. So I knew that as long as I kept my strength, but got faster, the science tells me there was no way the shot put was going to be worse.

              "I was going through a tough time, which all athletes do, where it gets a bit stagnant and you're not sure what you need to do to get to that next level.

              "I'm way happier with a new challenge like this."

              Indeed in the summer Nicoll added almost a metre to her old personal best to put herself in pole position for Birmingham.

              But Beijing remains the priority for now.

              Moore was the brakewoman behind pilot McNeill at PyeongChang 2018.
              Moore was the brakewoman behind pilot McNeill at PyeongChang 2018.

              With just over 70 days to go to the Winter Olympics, for Moore the preparations feel very different to the run-up to Pyeongchang 2018.

              British Bobsleigh withdrew the funding for its women's team just five months before the last Games, citing an 'overspend' as the reason.

              McNeill and Moore turned to crowdfunding to help realise their Olympic dream - and raised over £30,000 in the first week.

              Despite their eighth place in Beijing - the highest by a British women's team - four years on the team still requires additional help. Private sponsor DHL are funding their competition expenses this winter.

              "It is very different from last time," Moore admits. "When I came into this last time [in 2017-18] it was a very stressful journey to the Games, I'm not going to lie. But this time it's really nice.

              "What we want to do is go to the Olympics, get a great position and show what we're capable of. Hopefully that will then amount to [more funding] over the next four years.

              "I've always worked alongside my sport and although sometimes we complain about it, it does bring really good values.

              "You have good time management, you have good goal setting, you make your day work, you're determined.

              "But in the ideal scenario, maybe you wouldn't work."

              The stage is now set for a crucial final tilt at the Games, with seven World Cup races left to secure qualification.

              If that happens, the sacrifices made by both these athletes will all be worth it.

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