KRISTAN Bromley may be going for glory in Sochi but he believes it is his parents who deserve a medal.
The Waterfoot skeleton bob star, who will contest his fourth Winter Olympic Games, said he would not be competing had it not been for the efforts of his mum and dad.
Bromley and his partner Shelley Rudman, a silver medal winner in Turin in 2006, surround themselves with coaches and sports therapists but it is Ray and Mavis who are the cornerstone of Team Bromley.
The pair, grandparents to the couple’s six-year-old daughter Ella, make sure everything runs as smoothly as possible off the ice.
“Without my mum and dad neither Shelley nor I could compete,” said Bromley.
“They travelled with us through the whole World Cup, looking after our daughter Ella, managing our diet plan and generally creating an environment that enables us to stay focused on racing while maintaining a family environment. They give so much without asking for anything. They have been brilliant!”
Ray and Mavis will not be making the trip to Russia but Bromley hopes they will be watching from home – enjoying a drink and a rest.
“Unfortunately they will not go to Sochi to watch as it’s too far and too expensive,” he added.
“So instead they will watch the race from home with a glass a wine I hope.”
Bromley tries to make it home-from-home when competing abroad and that includes home schooling his daughter – so it is a good job that Rudman used to be a primary school teacher before taking up skeleton bob full time.
“Shelley home schools Ella as we travel,” added Bromley.
“She was a teacher before becoming a full-time athlete so Ella is fully up to speed with her school work.
“But more importantly Ella travels the world and experiences different countries and cultures and this stimulation is an invaluable learning experience.
“She is learning bits of many different languages.”
And Bromley believes having his daughter in camp is a big plus as it keeps family life as balanced as possible – despite the urge to talk about work.
“We try not to talk shop at home but it’s inevitable,” he said. “But we have a pretty balanced life away from sport, Ella makes sure of that.
“Travelling with the family requires much planning and it’s tough. But the reward is huge and having Ella around is a big positive for us.
“Our performance director has been amazing with Ella as have our GB team-mates and international team-mates.
“She is spoiled by everyone.”
While Ray and Mavis will be back in Rossendale, there will be one Bromley in the backroom staff as Kristan’s brother Richard will be providing some vital technical support. The brothers run Bromley Technology and have been at the cutting edge of sled design for the past decade.
“Richard has supported us without compromise for the last 10 years,” added Bromley. “He is a critical component of our performance programme and will travel to Sochi as our Olympic sled engineer.
“His role is to ensure both Shelley and I are as technically best prepared as possible. We have some amazing technical sponsors behind Team Bromley and Rich and I both work to maximise this support.”
Due to competition commitments, Bromley doesn’t get back to his native Rossendale as much as he should but the familiar Lancashire twang makes sure he doesn’t feel too far from home.
“Being away from the UK for five months of the year does not give me much chance to come back to Rossendale,” he said.
“But with mum and dad being with us it’s like home-from-home when we travel.
“Four Lancashire accents in one room always makes Shelley, who is from Wiltshire, smile!”