In 2018 Mica Moore and Mica McNeill slid their way to a best-ever GB Women's Olympic finish. It's always fun catching up with my old teammate, and when the giggling subsides long enough to get a tangible answer - what she has to say is pretty cool. Enjoy.
Credit: Mica Moore OLY
TBM: Hello tiny little Mica. Thanks for talking to us! Let's dive right in: What was your route into the crazy world of bobsleigh?
MM: Umm, so I think I had a similar route to most people to be honest. I went to one of those testing days that the BBSA (British Bobsleigh and Skeleton Association) run.
TBM: That’s right you were at my trial, and totally forgot I was there.
I know I don’t remember you being there! I remember Ryan Letts (since a Team Deen World Cup brakeman), and a boy who had come to the trial with no running spikes bless him, he was already at a disadvantage.
But yes it was a similar entry point to most people and the reason I went was because I had sadly been struck down by a virus in 2015.
I had gone to the Commonwealth Games for Wales in 2014 and my sprinting was going really well at that time.
But after the virus hit me it totally wiped my body and I found I couldn’t sprint as well which was pretty gutting. I decided I wanted to find something new that I could be moderately good at, so I went to the trial and was really pleased that it went well.
Credit: Mica Moore OLY MSc
TBM: What were your aspirations when you started? Did you imagine you'd do so well?
MM: Well when I started, it was just to find something that made me excited about sport again. Athletics had gone so badly since my illness and, after my trial, they’d said I was good so to come back for a second test against girls who had been doing it for a while.
Monty (current GB brakewoman Montell Douglas OLY) was there and had done really well in the tests, and it was pretty clear the BBSA thought that she was their next big star. I didn’t mind this though, I wasn’t that far behind and it really sparked something in me to prove myself.
Being fast is only one asset in bobsleigh. It’s a surprisingly technical sport and there are lots of other important aspects that can make up a great brakewoman.
I wanted to excel though. When push testing came around again in September, I wanted to dominate and give the coaches no option but to pick me. It was about 8 weeks from those initial trial tests to the September push ranking so it was a tall order for me to come out on top, but I was really pleased with the outcome.
I won the push test by a decent margin which was important for me. I didn’t want any questions about my ability because I’m already at a perceived disadvantage being smaller than the other girls. I’m probably not your typical bobsledder in that sense.
TBM: Preach girl!
Because of my size, I felt I really had to prove myself - potentially more than others did.
Credit: Mica Moore OLY MSc BSc (I'm running out)
TBM: What was your favourite part of competition?
MM: Um, the finish? No just kidding! I genuinely think my favourite part is the push, the start.
It’s where all the crowd are, where the hype is and, as a sprinter, it’s the place to show how fast and powerful you are. That’s really cool.
I also love the bit when you’re loading. So just as you leave the ground and plop into the sled, it’s great, you feel like a superhero! I wouldn’t really say the rest of the run is my favourite because you’re just sitting there like a duck. (editor note: I don't know what this means.)
But the first bit is super fun.
Credit: Mica Moore OLY MSc BSc OMg
TBM: What's your fondest competition memory?
Well, I guess I’d have to say the Olympics obviously as that’s what every sports person strives for - and it was really great.
But I also think there are other occasions where I’ve been super proud of myself. Moments I’ll remember forever.
TBM: Go on…
Well my first crash at the track in Whistler, Canada was an important event for me. It’s a scaaary track, so fast, most people don’t want to slide it at all! Getting back in the sled after a crash there is seriously hard to do.
A lot of the time in my career I’ve leaned on my dad or my boyfriend when I’ve needed support to get through a tough time. That crash was in the middle of the night back in the UK though, so I had to find a way to get on with it myself.
I thought, ‘Oh my God I can’t get back in the sled and risk going through another 80mph crash.’
But that’s the amazing thing about bobsleigh. There’s a real camaraderie and community, and looking around I saw that other people were getting back in the sled and getting on with it and I thought, ‘well I have to do it cos everyone else is.’
Even on the block, getting ready to push off with my legs shaking like crazy and fear coursing through me, I still found myself hitting the sled, running down the mountain and getting in for another ride.
When you’re there, you commit to your pilot, to the moment.
I’m really proud of myself for that.
TBM: Beautifully put. What's life like post-bob, what are you up to now?
MM: Well right now I just dyed my hair purple, so that’s a literal.
But after the Olympics I didn’t really know what next steps to take for my life. It was either carry on with bob, carry on with athletics or get a job. There was all sorts of crazy in my brain and I ended up deciding to do it all - except bobsleigh!
My thought process was that the Games were so much fun and such an incredible experience. We’d had a real rough time building up to it with losing our funding etc. I couldn’t imagine sliding after that whole process being as fun as what the Pyeongchang build up turned out to be if that makes sense?
I thought, ‘do I leave on a high? Or do I power through and potentially leave the sport with memories that weren’t so nice.’ There was a lot of unknown at that time.
There was still lots I wanted to achieve with athletics and I had also just been offered a Sports Broadcasting master's degree course at University. It’s not often you get a higher education offer with the institution paying the bill so I felt that would’ve been crazy to turn down.
So I got my master's and alongside that, got a job. Bobsleigh doesn’t have that much money in it and I didn’t want to go too far down that road and be left with little setting me up for my future.
I didn’t really know what would come of the course, I get quite anxious trying new things.
But I got given lots of amazing opportunities and worked at a few sporting events. I did The Match in Minsk, European Team Champs in Poland and the Youth Olympics in Baku. Lots of fun stuff.
I was mainly doing social media presenting but the only guidelines I was given was to ‘make it fun!’ I had total creative control so I could really make it my own which was great.
I was due to do some work with Red Bull coming up, but obviously Covid-19 shut that down - which is fine!
The great thing about this industry is that it’s totally freelance so you can do as much or as little as you like. I find it works really well alongside what I call my ‘grown-up job’ in medical sales.
Credit for this terrible video: fully Mica Moore
TBM: Thanks a lot for your time Mics. Now, we always finish these interviews with a 'Would You Rather?' question.
So, Mica Moore, would you rather:
have a permanent, large splinter under your big toenail, or a permanent, terrible haircut?
MM: Oh God! Well, as a sprinter the toenail thing would be pretty horrendous with every stride.
Saying that, I love my hair so I guess I’d have to put up with the splinter!
Follow Mica’s journey on her Instagram: @micalm92