Trinidad and Tobago’s bobsleigh team will use the next 18 months to develop a well-oiled four-man team ahead of qualifiers, as they set their sights on the 2026 Winter Olympic Games in Italy. 

Piloted Axel Brown, the Soca Sliders, which also comprises Shakeel John, Xaverri Williams and Du Aundre John, is expected to feature more athletes, courtesy of a recent recruitment drive for potential bobsledders. For the first time in the nation’s short Winter Olympic history, Trinidad and Tobago will be chasing a spot in the four-man event.

The twin island republic's previous appearances in 1994 (Lillehammer, Norway), 1998 (Nangano, Japan), 2002 (Utah, USA) and 2022 (Beijing, China), were in the two-man bobsleigh.  The 2026 Olympic qualifiers slide off from November 2025 to January 2026.

But until then, Brown believes the team has a lot of work to do and, as such, pointed out that the focus for this year will be on development and continuity.

“It’s a growing year so we’re not so much looking at results, we’re looking at the future and what we can do now to help the next couple of years. Yes, most of our 2023 results were good but we’re really looking at growing the team, getting better and laying the groundwork for the other teams,” Brown told Trinidad and Tobago Newsday in a recent interview.

While he is grateful that the country's bobsledders more or less come from a track and field background, Brown stressed the need to improve on their push power at the start of the race.

“If they train day-in, day-out they can get a lot stronger and a lot closer to the proverbial perfect bobsledder. Because that’s where they’re lacking right now, they’ve never truly hit the gym really hard in order to gain strength," he said.

“We’re trying to reframe their priorities to show them what it means to be and train like a bobsledder. We had some really good opportunities over the past three weeks to train alongside them. Normally, on the ice, the driver has to operate a little bit separately because of the different responsibilities, so to train alongside them for the last three weeks has been really beneficial," Brown added.

The Trinidad and Tobago bobsleigh team of Axel Brown and Shakeel John created history for that country at the North American Cup when they finished fourth in the two-man bobsleigh event in Park City, Utah.

They are also now the second Caribbean country to win medals at the North American Cup as Jamaica has won multiple events and medals from the women monobob, two-woman and two-man bobsled events dating back to the 1990s.

In the North American Cup the first six places win medals and Brown and John clocked a combined time of 1:38.24 (48.81/49.43) to finish behind Canada (1:38.11), USA (1:37.78) and the winning Korean team (1:37.59).

It was a major moment in the sport’s history in the twin-island republic athletes.

 “We’re all coming to terms with the fact that we just made history,” Brown told Newsday.

“Of course, we wanted to be in the top three, but to be racing against the biggest nations in our sport and challenging them on the ice (is great). I can’t wait to see what this team can continue to achieve.”

The history-making team races again Tuesday, November 22 and Wednesday, November 23.

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