Biography:

Ben Coakwell had always dreamed of being an Olympian. As a child, he watched the hockey, bobsleigh, and speed skating events and pretended he was competing against the athletes on television. The dream came closer to reality after he was introduced to bobsleigh. Having seen former CFL running back Jesse Lumsden make the successful conversion from football to bobsleigh in 2009-10, his interest in the ice track was piqued. A running back himself at the University of Saskatchewan, he had the choice to either pursue a professional football career or try bobsleigh. His speed and size caught the attention of Bobsleigh Canada, so he attended a blue-chip prospect camp in March 2012 and never looked back.

Coakwell made his World Cup debut in November 2012 with pilot Christopher Spring. In just his third four-man World Cup event, Coakwell helped push Spring’s sled to bronze. Coakwell made his Olympic debut at Sochi 2014 as a member of the four-man sled piloted by Justin Kripps. Coakwell had originally been scheduled to compete with Spring, but there was a late reorganization of the crews to put the team’s top pushers into a sled with Kripps, who had proven to be the best Canadian driver on the Sochi track. Sitting eighth after the first heat, the sled overturned on turn 12 in the second heat. Coakwell was not medically cleared to finish the competition due to a stiff neck and shoulder injury. Coakwell competed at his first world championships in 2015. He got back on a World Cup podium in January 2016, winning four-man bronze in Lake Placid with Kripps. In November 2017, he helped push Kripps to four-man silver in Park City.

A little more about Ben…

Getting into the Sport: Grew up surrounded by organized sport and spent most of his youth playing hockey and lacrosse competitively… Began playing football in grade 12… When Coakwell moved to Calgary in September 2012 to begin fulltime training, he moved in with Jesse Lumsden… School: Played football for the University of Saskatchewan Huskies on an athletic bursary… As a running back, led the team in scoring and rushing in 2010 and 2011… Also represented the Huskies in track and field as a sprinter… Graduated in 2012… Outside Interests: Enjoys painting abstract and watching movies… Finds it calming to put on some music and paint… The night before a race he will watch one of his favourite movies… Odds and Ends: Nickname: 10 speed, because when he was younger he didn’t have a bike but could run fast and keep up with his friends… Favourite Olympic memory is Simon Whitfield’s triathlon gold medal at Sydney 2000… Favourite quote: “He sendeth rain on the just and unjust alike.” – Matthew 5:45