WHEN Adele Nicoll’s friend posted a video of her exercising on social media last summer, no-one could have predicted it might lead to the Welsh shot put champion becoming a Winter Olympian.

But that is exactly the position the 24-year-old from Welshpool finds herself in just a few months before Beijing 2022 gets under way.

It has been a remarkable journey for Nicoll since that Instagram post caught the eye of Mica McNeill, who steered Great Britain to eighth in the women’s bobsleigh at the last Games in South Korea.

Having come through trials to take her place in the GB set-up 12 months ago, Nicoll had to do it all over again this year – and she passed with flying colours.

The World Cup season began in Innsbruck on Saturday, although Nicoll won’t get her campaign up and running until the second event, which also takes place in the Austrian city next weekend.

That’s because Nicoll is one of three women vying to become McNeill’s brakewoman in Beijing, providing the British squad can qualify the sled for China.

Nicoll faces stiff competition from fellow Welsh athlete Mica Moore, McNeill’s team-mate in Pyeongchang in 2018, and former Olympic sprinter Montell Douglas.

With the final decision on McNeill’s partner for Beijing not being made until mid-January, the British trio know it’s all going to be about impressing the selectors during the World Cup.

GB will also be taking one of the three to the Far East as a reserve, but it’s that berth behind McNeil that Nicoll, Newport’s Moore, 28, and 35-year-old Douglas want.

Recounting how she got involved in winter sports, Nicoll said: “I was training in a park in Cardiff during lockdown last summer and my friend put a video of me running on Instagram.

“It was just a bit of fun and then a complete coincidence that Mica McNeill saw it.

“She messaged me and asked if I had ever considered giving bobsleigh a go because of my power.

“I made sure I spoke to the right people at Welsh Athletics before I even entertained the thought of trying a different sport.

“It was August 2020 when I decided I was going to give it a go, and then I had four weeks to prepare for the trials for the 2020-21 women’s squad – and I was selected.”

She added: “I got into the bob a handful of times last season, the rest of the time I was training.

“My first actual bobsleigh run was in Sigulda, Latvia, and Mica McNeill was great, she really helped me a lot.

“But I don’t think anything can really prepare you for what it’s like in the back of a bob. It’s difficult to put into words.

“I learnt so much in the first year and really applied myself, and then I went to the trials in Bath for this season and got in the squad again.

“My first World Cup race should be next weekend. I did the Beijing Olympic test event but Innsbruck will be my first proper race for Great Britain.”

A self-confessed thrill-seeker, Nicoll, who recently slid on the Olympic track in Beijing, applies her “speed, power and strength” principle to both her sports.

And when she’s on the ice, it’s clear what her remit is.

She said: “You have to be able to move the sled as fast as possible at the top, so the more speed and velocity you can get for the driver the better.

“The driver does her job and then at the very end the brakewoman brings the sled to a stop.

“Sometimes that’s more difficult than others.

“Most tracks have a brake straight and you get to know when to brake or the driver will give you a shout.

“But at a track like Innsbruck, you have a braking straight, another corner, and then another straight.”

If Nicoll does land the place in the bob for Beijing then it would complete the first part of a what could be a remarkable double in 2022.

The shot putter has thrown the qualifying standard for next year’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham on three occasions.

Two of those, including a new personal best of 17.17m, were at the National Athletics League Premier North meeting in Nottingham in late August.

“It would be incredible to go to the Winter Olympics and Commonwealth Games next year, but it’s very much one step at a time for now,” added Nicoll, who had to lose 15kg to compete in the bob.

“A year ago, I said to myself that even if nothing came of the bobsleigh, at least I tried and gave my all trying.

“But because of the progress I have made, competing in both events in 2022 does become more realistic each day.”

Nicoll is the rookie of the three competing for the brakewoman position in Beijing.

Douglas and Moore have partnered McNeill on numerous occasions over the last five years.

Moore got the nod over Douglas for the 2018 Olympics in South Korea, and the Commonwealth Games relay runner made the most of her chance.

In coming eighth, McNeill and Moore recorded the best finish by a British female crew at the Games, while in 2017 they were crowned world junior champions.

Commenting on the group dynamic, Nicoll said: “They don’t usually take three brakewomen to the World Cup races, but because our results at the trials were so close we are all going to them.

“There will be one spot for the three of us at the Olympics and one reserve, and the competition for that place alongside Mica (McNeill) is something we’ve spoken about.

“When you spend so much time together, you have to get along and have a healthy atmosphere and dynamic.

“You have to be positive and support each other, but everyone recognises you’re all going for the same thing.”

After studying for an undergraduate degree in Cardiff and masters in Manchester, Nicoll is hoping to begin work on a doctorate, but that will have to be put on hold for now as she pushes for more sporting success.