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A Women's Sports Alliance Production

Montell Marcelle Douglas is a British sportswoman. Originally a sprinter and former British record holder for the 100 metres at 11.05 seconds. In 2016, she took up bobsleigh and became part of the Great Britain women's two-woman bobsleigh team the following year. She competed at the 2022 Winter Olympics.

She was the first British athlete to compete at both a Summer and a Winter Olympic Games.

Montell Douglas | Two Olympics | Women's Sports Alliance
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On 18th 2022 February Montell Douglas became a British history-maker when she took the ice at the Xiaohaituo sliding centre in the Yanqing Mountain range.

The 36-year-old bobsledder was around 100km from where she made her Olympic debut as a sprinter 14 years earlier – in the baking heat at the iconic Birds Nest Stadium – during the 2008 Games.


The sports both required a ‘track’ but that is where the similarities end and such was the contrast - highlighted by the 40°C switch – Monty felt she could have been on another planet rather than simply a different district within Beijing.

She grimaces when recalling the sub-zero temperatures endured during the 2022 Games, but then breaks out into a smile.


This is where she made history and became the first woman to compete for Great Britain in both a summer and a Winter Olympics, in two different sports.


“I wanted to leave a legacy and inspire more women and girls to think about their goals, dreams and to never give up,” she tells the Women’s Sports Alliance (WSA).

This was an achievement almost three decades in the making and it came 20 years after her first international athletics medal. Her life has not been one of privilege though.


“I came from really humble beginnings, virtually teenage parents and from a small place in south London,” said the Lewisham-born athlete, who learned how to fight from a young age.


“For me it was initially about doing something that had never been done in my family and then it was about doing things which had never been done, period,” she recalls.

“It means so much to me that the legacy I’m leaving behind is more than just the four years that I struggled, pushed and grinded through my new sport.”

How an Olympic sprinter became an Olympic slider


Montell was encouraged to try out bobsleigh in late 2016 after she missed out on the British 100m and relay teams for the Rio Games.


She made her debut early the following year and soon claimed a first Europe Cup podium. GB Bobsleigh coaches referred to her athletic ability as “phenomenal.”


Since 2018 and in the 4 years leading up to the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, Monty secured her place as GB’s number 1 brake woman. Despite facing an injury and COVID-19 a month before Olympic selection, Monty’s performances on ice showcased her resilience, sheer talent and one of the greatest work ethics we have ever seen.

“The hardest part for me and for a lot of bobsledders coming from sprints or individual events was not team-work or hard graft, but it was the awe of the sport itself,” she recalls.


“Doing a winter sport, especially as Great Britain where it’s not a big sport, we had to try to find the funding and basically run our own team which is very challenging and we don’t always have the infrastructure.


“It was kind of like ‘girls doing it for themselves’ which was great for us because we had autonomy but it is quite difficult when you’re coming from a sport which is heavily funded and is one of the blue-ribbon events.”

Overcoming adversity and the ‘need for speed’


Being away from home for months at a time was another challenge – and there was also adjusting to the dynamics of a completely different sport.


“It was so completely different for me,” Montell states. “From being on the start line on my own for years to now having someone alongside that’s going through the motions with me.


“I really love being at the top of a bobsleigh, because even though it’s freezing cold and you’re about to travel 100mph on ice I’m not as nervous as I am before the 100m.

“You have a job to do yourself, but there is team-work, trust and also that knowledge you’re not taking all of the responsibility on yourself for the event.”


“One thing I’ve learned it that I’m definitely a fighter,” she says. “I think I knew this from the beginning but I took it for granted that I’d get up and get on with it.


“Whether it was like career-threatening injuries, funding or something else, I could kind of find a way to get it done and I’ve taken that mentality all the way through my sporting career.


And those traits certainly came in handy in life as a bobsledder.”

Leaving a legacy that lasts


Montell confirmed her retirement from elite sport following the Beijing 2022 Olympic Games.


One thing the two-time Olympian is adamant she will not stop pushing though, is for greater diversity and inclusion within sliding sports and winter sports generally.


“I’m a big believer in you need to see it to be it,” she tells the WSA.

“I’m hoping now people will have seen me and go, ‘Oh, wow the first British woman wasn’t just a British woman, but the black community will also go, ‘that’s a black person that we can relate to’, because many just see winter sport as a white-dominated world.


“Representation does really matter and that was part of my goal,” continues Monty.


“It wasn’t just for me, it’s for the little girl in me and others out there who never knew there were ice mountains or bobsleigh as an event.”


A note from Jordan Guard on Montell


“From getting to know Montell, it is so obvious that she’s an absolute grafter. But on top of that, it’s extremely apparent that her talent is rare. It takes a certain type of person to become an Olympian in two different sports, battle through physical pain, and make the sacrifices needed to stay at the top of elite sport for 15 years. Her strength, determination, perseverance and work ethic are inspiring to me and I’m sure they are inspiring to a whole generation of athletes. On behalf of the Women’s Sports Alliance team, I’d like to wish Montell luck on her next journey and we’d like to encourage her to take up something like Curling for the next Winter Olympics.”

Jordan Guard, WSA Founder

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