In the final instalment of my guide to the Winter Olympics I’m covering the one sport I haven’t done yet and it’s one of the most popular, bobsleigh (or bobsled for those that can’t spell properly).
It’s rarely acknowledged how much of a role British TV comedy has played in winter sports. Luge was a relatively unknown pastime until Frank Spencer hilariously skidded down an icy Bedford High Street on a hospital trolley in Some Mothers do ave em.
Similarly, bobsleigh was a minor winter sport until Derek ‘Del Boy’ Trotter comically took a wrong turn in his Reliant Robin and ended up on Peckham Ice Rink. From that day forward the bobsleigh has gone from strength to strength.
With the wheels exchanged for ice skating blades, the Reliant became the sleigh of choice for all top teams.
The Jamaican Only Fools and Horses Fan Club were so inspired that they entered their own team in the 1988 Winter Olympics and the subsequent film, Cool Runnings, had John Candy playing the role of Del Boy.
The battery life of a Reliant Robin was notoriously poor and therefore the bobsleigh begins with a jump start where the competitors push the former three wheeler down a hill, jumping in at the last minute then bobbing backwards and forwards until they build up some speed.
Despite the ban on Only Fools and Horses in Germany due to Uncle Albert’s constant references to the war, the Germans have become the masters of the sport. Kevin ‘Rodney’ Kuske and Andre ‘Trigger’ Lange have four Golds and one Silver each and one day they are expected to be millionaires.
In a bizarre ruling in the seventies, bobsleighs were allowed free entry to all football grounds when an administrative error led to free entry for former FA Chairman Robert Slay was misreported to the clubs and the GB team in their trademark sky blue sleighs were a regular sight around the country.
What to say: Rodney you plonker.
What not to say: Alright Dave?
Can you recreated it at home? Yes if you own a Robin Reliant and live on a hill.