Corie Mapp: Britain's Bobsleigh success story
By Gemma-Louise Stevenson
Last Updated: 11/04/19 6:31pm
Britain's Corie Mapp should arguably have his name mentioned alongside some of the countries' top athletes.
Since taking up Para Bobsleigh in 2013, he's enjoyed success after success when it comes to high speed descents down the frozen, twisted ice chutes around the world, including finishing the 2018 season with a World Cup title and ranked as World No.1.
Returning to the UK after the glorious climax to the 2019 season, Mapp told Sky Sports: "I've had five really successful years, for five years I've been ranked in the top five in the world and last season I was successful enough to win the World Cup. This year I'm ranked number three in the world but for me that's still success.
"It's been a long, arduous kind of season this year but rewarding in many ways and really enjoyable too."
It's about more than the trophies
For Mapp, all the medals, trophies and globes he's achieved over a relatively short time in the sport are just the tip of the iceberg.
It's also about enjoyment, fun and the friendships formed that comes with competing as part of a sporting community.
Canada's Lonnie Bissonette secured his first World Championship win since 2016, as well as the 2019 World Cup title at the closing event of the season in Lake Placid and for Mapp, getting to stand on the podium alongside his training partner was among one of the highlights of his 2019 season.
"At the end of the day the trophies, the globes, they'll go and you will in essence be left with the relationships you've formed in the sport," Mapp said.
"Standing on the same podium it showed our hard work had paid off, we were both finishing within the top three in the world, and to celebrate that moment on the podium together with someone you've trained with, even though they are representing a different country - that's the ultimate for me."
Time in the sun
Speaking to Mapp it is clear that his main drive and reason for doing sport is because of a pure love and enjoyment for it.
"Sport is my life and I want to use it to be an ambassador for people out there with mental health issues, for people who have injuries and for people who are facing challenges in their life."
His passion for Para Bobsleigh is there for all to see: "I love it for the purity of the sport. There's so many fantastic things about the sport I could tell you, for one female athletes race with us in the same field and that's awesome because there's no segregation - they race with us and yes they beat us."
But he's not just found competing in colder climates.
"I enjoy my time in the sun too," Mapp said laughing. "So over the next few months I'll be transitioning over to the first sport Help for Heroes Sports Recovery introduced me to - Volleyball."
As part of this transition, the Afghanistan veteran will be attending the upcoming camps and trials for the GB Invictus team that will be sent to compete at The Hague in 2020.
At present, Para Bobsleigh is not currently included in the list of sports for the next Winter Paralympics in Beijing in 2022 but Mapp is still hopeful the sport could potentially be a part of the Games in three years time.
He believes their current omission is not a foregone conclusion and he's keeping his fingers-crossed that "there's a chance we'll still get in."
But regardless of whether the Paralympics beckon in 2022, the currently self-funded athlete has clear opinions on the main aims of the sport in the future.
"Not just in bobsleigh but for skeleton and push athletes as well, we need to grow the sport," he said. "We're still very much a fringe sport in a lot of ways but we want as many nations as possible to come and join us and enjoy the sport.
"We want to get sponsors interested, get the media interested and get people interested in watching.
"So we as athletes have to work hard and sell it, and we can because we have some amazing stories within the sport, I mean Lonnie jumps off buildings in his wheelchair as a BASE jumper when he's not competing.
"We have to show the IPC what it is missing because there's really no reason why we shouldn't be included in the Paralympics. We just have to keep showing them whether they want us or not we're going to be there - we love the sport, we love the competition and we love the camaraderie that exists and we're going to keep working hard."