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Adrenaline and terror in one

Today the XXIV Olympic Winter Games will begin in Beijing, China. We wish everyone taking part every success.

Many sports are dangerous. Many sports awe-inspiring. To me, the Winter Games encompasses the human nature to take risks. As a health and safety professional, it is my job to help businesses reduce the risk of serious injury. And yet, as humans, we feel the need to challenge ourselves to take big risks.

The Winter Olympics sums that up. Whether hurtling at high speed down a very steep mountain wearing a pair of skis, lying on nothing more than a tea tray sliding downhill on sheet ice, doing acrobatics on a snowboard, jumping off a ski jump into thin air at high speed, or riding down the cresta run in a bobsleigh, the Winter Olympics is both an adrenaline rush and terrifying in one - for both the participants and those watching.

I think it is this human need to risk take, together with the adrenaline rush and fear that led me to be in Sigulda, Latvia a decade and a half ago stood at the top of their bobsleigh track watching the Russian Olympic Team practising for the Olympics. Once they had finished, I was offered a go. I was terrified, but it was a one off opportunity.

I was told to keep my spectacles on under the helmet, and for whatever reason I don't know I ended up being the brake man.. the one at the back who pulls a lever between his legs that slows the sled down at the end of the run. The four of us didn't run and jump in like the Olympians do - it was for three of us our first go, so we were pushed. The temperature was about -15C.

Suddenly we were sliding down the course rattling and shaking building up speed, the heart racing. We went around one bend, then another. Then I saw a crack in front of my eyes. I thought my glasses had broken. Seconds later the snot in my nostrils was frozen - not a pleasant sensation.

Suddenly a yell from our guide at the front shouting "Brake!" and I pulled the lever.

Shaking both from the sleds vibrations and the exhilaration, I got out, took my helmet off and discovered that my glasses were not broken, just they had misted up and the mist had frozen on them.

1200 metres winding down a mountain in about 45 seconds. Mad? Yes. Risk? Yes. Glad I did it? Ooh yes. Would I do it again? Not a chance! But that is why I love the Winter Olympics.

Throughout the Games, which continue until 20 February, KSH Safety Services will be continuing a campaign we ran in the Summer Tokyo Games last year. Like our Olympians, the more you train, the more you can succeed. It's the same in business. KSH Safety Services has over 100 online training courses on a wide range of subjects to help you. And during the Games, we are offering 15% off all our online courses purchased through our website,, only if you add the code SUCCEEDKSH at checkout.

Good luck Team GB. Good Luck to those who buy our courses. And tell us, what risks for adrenaline and thrill will you be doing this year?


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