Bromley focusing on his ice baby

First published in Sport Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by , Sports reporter

EAST Lancashire currently boasts a world champion in skeleton bob expert Kristan Bromley, who was born and raised in Waterfoot, near Rossendale.

Here, he tells us of his achievements and plans for the future as he bids for an Olympic gold.

OVER the past few months, speed ace Kristan Bromley has lived a dream few could imagine.

The Rossendale bob skeleton has performed a minor miracle, becoming the first slider in history to land the clean sweep of European, World Cup and World Championship crowns in the same season.

But while greater ambitions lie in wait - a coveted Winter Olympic gold medal in 2010 - Bromley has just one thing on his mind right now ... baby daughter Ella-Marie.

The 36-year-old and his girlfriend Shelley Rudman, another skeleton athlete who won silver at the 2006 Winter Olympic Games, became parents for the first time in October.

However, with Bromley busy competing for major honours throughout the winter, it has been tough juggling fatherhood with life on the track.

"What I've achieved has been fantastic, it's a great feeling," said the former Bacup and Rawtenstall Grammar School student.

"Winning all three events has never been done before in history, and it's really established me as one of the top guys in the sport's history.

"But right now, my emotions are a mixture of being elated and worn out.

"Our daughter was born in October and it's been very exhausting."

But Bromley and Rudman have relied on meticulous planning to make life comfortable and workable for the whole family.

"It's not been a day by day thing. It has to be planned," he added.

"Shelley went back into competition after giving birth, racing in North America and winning medals, so we had to sit down and organise everything.

"It's got to be organised to make it as smooth as possible, and so we see as much of Ella as we possibly can."

And Bromley, who grew up in Waterfoot, receives plenty of baby-sitting support, including his parents Ray and Mavis.

"The support I get from my mum and dad is fantastic," he said. "My dad's now retired, but they have followed me all the way and with everything I've done in my life.

"They also look in for Ella from time to time, and that's been great."

A former pupil at Waterfoot Primary School, Bromley's passion for winter sports began as a youngster with trips to Ski Rossendale.

But it was only later studying for a PhD in sports engineering, which has earned him the nickname Dr Ice', and working on a sled project at BAE Systems that he developed a taste for skeleton.

Few people would choose to throw their body down an icy slope at 90mph, but Bromley has enjoyed a successful career since making his competitive bow in 1996.

He first represented Great Britain almost 10 years ago, and results have gone from strength to strength, catapulting the East Lancastrian to the very top of his profession.

Bromley has twice won the bob skeleton World Cup, in 2003/4 and 2007/8, and has landed three European gold medals.

However, his finest moment came last month in Altenberg, Germany, where he became the first Britain since 1965 to win gold at the FIBT World Championships.

A remarkable clean sweep of the three major titles has made Bromley the top-ranked bob skeleton competitor in the world.

But, working in tandem with his brother and coach Richard, who helps develop his award-winning sled, his eyes are fixed on landing a Winter Olympic title in Vancouver in 2010.

"We've done exceptionally well, but I believe there's more in the tank," said Bromley "And if I can retire with a medal in every competition, I can go down as one of the greatest ever in the sport "There's only an Olympic title to go now - so no pressure then!

"I'm still going to be competing for the World Championship and World Cup, but my personal goal is to win a gold medal in Vancouver."

So is Bromley gearing up now for his day of destiny in Canada?

He said: "I'm going over to Vancouver to get eight runs under my belt - it will give me a head-start.

"But at the moment, I want to enjoy being a dad, because I've not seen much of Ella in the last four months."

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