Rugby star sets sights on Olympic bobsled team

Feb 20, 2003, vol. 26, no. 4
By Marianne Meadahl

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When you play a sport where fighting through mud and bodies is routine, a backseat ride down a funnel of ice might seem quite civilized.

Jenny Harvey (left) calls it smooth. And definitely fast.

Harvey, who has been scoring tries for SFU as part of the women's rugby team for the past six years, tried out for the national bobsled team last fall after representatives of the Vancouver-Whistler bid corporation approached the rugby team looking for recruits.

Harvey knew little about the sport but learned that her speed more than anything else made her a good candidate. She spent two weeks working out with the team and took part in the annual Alberta bobsled push competition in September. She found herself hooked.

“There's no other word to describe it, but fast,” says Harvey, who has since been ranked third, as brakeman, on the national team. Women compete in the two-seat sled competition, and Harvey's job is to work behind the driver. “Making a run requires a great deal of stamina from each of us,” says Harvey, who has just returned from a tour of bobsled runs in Europe.

She now has to decide whether to continue with study plans after graduating — she hopes to become a teacher — or move to Calgary and train in earnest for next year's world championship in Konigsee, Germany.

If she does well over the new few years it could mean a spot on the 2006 Olympic team, and better yet, a chance to compete at a new facility in her own backyard, if Vancouver gets the 2010 winter games.

For now, Harvey will pursue her plans for further study at SFU in the fall. But she'll spend the next few months weighing her options.

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