Children from a Harrogate prep school were treated to a very special show and tell, when an Olympian ex-pupil visited with his bobsleigh and tales of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.
Axel Brown attended Brackenfield School between 1995-2003 and returned recently to talk to current pupils about his thrilling career. His biggest achievement so far has been competing in the two-man bobsleigh event in Beijing earlier this year, representing Trinidad and Tobago, the country of his mother’s birth.
Axel wowed the children with his bobsleigh in all its shiny glory, giving them the chance to sit in it and ask him all sorts of questions about his sporting career and rise to Olympic fame. When he competed in Beijing, the school took time out of the day to watch on the big screen and cheer him on.
Axel had seen a video of the children watching him and said: “Seeing the kids cheering me on and chanting my name still gives me goosebumps. Seeing that was genuinely one of the most fulfilling moments of the whole experience. It’s those moments that make it all worth it!”
Headteacher at Brackenfield, Joe Masterson, said the very special visitor had been a cause for excitement throughout the school.
He said: “It was a real pleasure to welcome Axel back to Brackenfield and to hear first-hand of his inspiring path to success. Representing Trindad and Tobago on the international stage is a huge accolade not only for Axel, but for us too – we couldn’t be more proud of the heights Axel has reached so far and we’re certain there is more to come from our super-fast and super-agile ex-pupil! Thank you for sharing your stories and experiences with us Axel, it really was a special day for our children.”
Axel was born and raised in Harrogate, but only found the sport of bobsleigh in 2014. Prior to bobsleigh, Axel had played American football for Division 1 NCAA team the Colorado State Rams. Having tried his hand at numerous different sports including winning a national silver and bronze medal in Taekwondo, as well as competing for the u18 national American football team, it took some time to find his calling.
He said: “I have always preferred sports with short fast efforts like sprinting, which is why I played American football in place of rugby. I also like the idea of taking one aspect of a skill and trying to do it really well, so bobsleigh has allowed me to focus and really find a niche.”
Founded in 1977, Brackenfield is a small, independent school for boys and girls aged 2-11 with a close-knit community feel and is a regular Independent Schools Association finalist. Located five minutes from the centre of Harrogate on Duchy Road, the school has established a strong and long-standing reputation for supporting the local community, as well as providing a first-class academic education.