Toby Olubi is an International Bobsleigh athlete and Olympian who represents Great Britain and competed at the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea. After joining the British squad in 2013 he made his debut in 2014, placing 4th in the North America’s Cup in a 2-man event. Only a day later, he won a bronze medal on the same track before going on to take Gold in the 4-man event later that week then finishing with another silver later in the day, resulting in the British team topping the standings for the event. In 2016 he won silver in the Europa Cup and finished in the top 10 in both the 2-man and the 4-man events at the 2017 European Championships. One of the highlights of his career so far came just last year in 2017 at the World Cup, when not only did he win silver for Britain achieving the nation’s best result in 4 years in doing so he was part of the 4 man team that broke the World record for the fastest sled in history.
Toby told us he grew up in a single parent household in what he described as the notorious Aylesbury estate; which is the biggest council estate or state sponsored housing project in the UK. He said that crime amongst his peers was rife and as with so many others, it was his passion for sports that managed to keep him out of trouble. At school he was always the sporty one and was involved in everything from table tennis to cross country and a regular on most teams. With that grounding, natural ability and passion, you’d have thought it inevitable that Toby would have become a top level athlete at a relatively young age but things didn’t quite pan out that way. It wasn’t till his Iate teens that Toby began to realise some of his potential as a sprinter and even then, although he often succeeded at county level, for one reason or another, he always fell short at the National trials. This pattern continued Into his early twenties and at this point most people would have given up on their dream and accepted that they just weren’t cut out to compete at the highest level but I guess there was something inside Toby that told him different and that convinced him that he had been given these dreams and gifts from God for a reason.
Against all the odds Toby continued to persevere, knowing that something would change with his faith being the driving force behind his determination and then it happened, along came Bobsleigh and an open invite to the British trials, which he attended and immediately it looked like he’d found his perfect fit. As he said in his own words; “Being a freakishly large sprinter, bobsleigh was an apt sport for me, heavier is always faster in bobsleigh, it was quite uncanny how rapidly I took to the sport and I quickly excelled up the ranks.” As we read in Toby’s intro he quickly went on to achieve so much in a flying start to his career that really was nothing short of incredible.
Knowing that his faith plays a big part in his life in general, we specifically wanted to know what part it plays in one of the most mentally and physically demanding sports you can do as well as in our eyes one of the most frightening and also what lessons he felt his faith in God had taught him, that he could pass on to you guys Toby said; “Bobsleigh is not a sport for the faint hearted, with forces equating to 6 times your body weight it can take its toll on your body. In order for me to battle against the elements I rely on my faith and on the one that created the elements.” He went on to say that there were a couple of verses from the Bible, one of which says “Be still and know that I am God” and those are the words I play on repeat in my head over and over again and and I feel that’s always been the key to my attitude in achieving all that I have over those long tough but successful seasons.” You could say in other words; staying calm and believing that God’s fully in control is all that Toby’s ever needed to be able to get to where he is today.
In response to the second part of the question Toby said “My story is very much the story of resilience and how all things are possible with God’s grace. You are unlimited and you too can achieve no matter what disposition you are born into. Don’t be afraid of failure, learn very hard from your mistakes, these are gifts and are golden lessons. Take as many shots at your dreams as possible, and one of your shots will eventually hit the target…. shoot, miss, learn; shoot, miss, learn; shoot miss learn; shoot, HIT! WIN!” Great words and we guess it couldn’t have been put much simpler and more powerfully than that.
Toby’s next target is to help the team achieve a top 3 result in the next World Championships which will take place in Canada at the Whistler track. Toby certainly feels there’s a good chance of that, as it’s the exact same track where the team broke the World record. We’ll be looking forward to following Toby’s progress and certainly keeping an ear out for even more potential record breaking performances over the next year or two.