Mica McNeill - Six things about Britain's bobsleigh sensation (including upstaging Ed Sheeran)

Mica McNeill piloted Team GB women's bob to their best ever bobsleigh result at PyeongChang 2018 and now she's aiming higher at Beijing 2022 - here are six amazing things about her.

By Ken Browne
Picture by 2018 Getty Images

Mica McNeill has helped put British women's bobsleigh on the map.

After a silver medal at Innsbruck 2012 - the first ever Winter Youth Olympic Games, and being crowned Junior World champion at Winterberg in January 2017, it looked like pilot McNeill was set for an exciting career.

But her first ever Olympic Games at PyeongChang 2018 almost never happened due to funding cuts.

McNeill and Mica Moore placed eighth in Korea, Great Britain's best-ever women’s bobsleigh result at a Winter Olympic Games.

Now with Beijing 2022 on the horizon, McNeill is aiming at a first ever Team GB medal in the event.

Read on to find out more, including how viral crowd sourcing saved her Olympic dream, the time she outshone Ed Sheeran, and how she loves a good giraffe.

1. Mica McNeill didn't know what a Bobsleigh was at 16: "I hadn't even seen Cool Runnings!"

Born in Consett, a town in County Durham just north of Newcastle, McNeill was always sporty and played both netball and hockey to a high level.

But she wasn't introduced to Bobsleigh until the age of 16 at a 'Try Something New Day' with Nicola Minichiello – the reigning bob world champ at the time.

"I didn’t even know what bobsleigh was until I got invited to go to the taster day," McNeill told TeamGB.com in January 2020.

"That’s when I actually YouTubed it to find out more about it – I hadn’t even seen Cool Runnings!"

At the end of the taster day Minichiello saw the potential in the 16-year-old, invited her for a trial with the team, and that's how it all began.

2. The Micas crowdsourcing their way to PyeongChang 2018

Despite some world-beating results at the Innsbruck 2012 YOGs and becoming 2017 junior world champ, the British women's bobsleigh team had their funding cut before the PyeongChang Games.

Devastated by the news, McNeill and Moore - decided to go it alone and attempt to find support from the public to complete a dream debut at the 2018 Games.

"I was gobsmacked and so angry," she told the Guardian, her passion and emotion helping the crowdfunding campaign to go viral with stories spread across British media in the BBC, the Northern Echo, on television and beyond.

The response was overwhelming: "We hit the crowdfunding target . . . I was in tears..."

Their sled was "Powered by the People"

3. Making history at PyeongChang 2018, aiming higher at Beijing 2022

An eighth-place finish for McNeill and Moore in Korea was historic - a British women’s sled had never finished that high at an Olympics.

But now McNeill has her sights on a first ever GB women's bobsleigh medal at Beijing 2022.

"My goals over the next two seasons are to continue progressing and becoming ready to win a medal at Beijing 2022 – that is the ultimate goal," she told Teamgb.com back in January 2020.

Results have been promising too.

With Moore taking a break from the bob to focus on studies, McNeill teamed up with Montell Douglas. The pair slid into sixth place in Königssee in 2019 and came so close to a first ever British women's bob World Cup medal when they finished fourth at Innsbruck in December 2020. Moore returned to the sport in 2021, giving the McNeill and the British squad options for the season leading up to Beijing 2022.

4. Mica McNeill: Upstaging Ed Sheeran

Bobsleigh is not exactly massive in Britain, but McNeill's story spread far and wide as she fought for gender equality in her sport.

Becoming the face of a wider debate on equality in sport, McNeill had no idea of the reach her story would have.

But when young fan Scarlett went to see Ed Sheeran in 2018, no-one could have predicted that the highlight of the show for her would be meeting and getting a photo with her new hero: GB bobsleigh star McNeill.

Sorry Ed.

5. How Mica McNeill is inspiring girls through sport

In the U.K., the numbers of boys in sport vs. the numbers of girls in sport is startling, and it's a story that's repeated around the world.

Mica McNeill is an ambassador for 'This Girl Can' and 'Active Newcastle' which help get girls and women moving and into sport to benefit from the many physical and mental positives that come with exercise and being active.

6. Mica McNeill loves a good giraffe

A quick scroll through McNeill's Insta will give you the answer to the question 'What's your favourite animal.'

For McNeill it's no contest.

A keen giraffe spotter, this one is a beauty too!

It would be a tough ask to get McNeill's favourite animal into a bobsleigh, but that's where GB women's great sliding hope will be this season.

Follow her journey all the way to the 2022 Beijing Winter Games on Olympics.com.


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