If posting the third-fastest time ever by a British sprinter over 100m last summer saw the spotlight thrown on Joel Fearon then 2017 has the potential to propel the attention levels to even greater heights.
Back at the end of July, while Britain’s Rio-bound sprinters were finalising their preparations for the Olympic Games, Fearon made headlines when he ran 9.96 seconds at the English Athletics Championships .
The then 27-year-old comes from an athletics background – he was part of the Great Britain 4x100m relay squad at the 2013 World Championships– but bobsleigh had also been his focus since 2011.
Fearon formed part of the four-man team at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics before taking a year out from bobsleigh competition as he turned his attentions back to athletics.
But having rejoined the British Bobsleigh set up last summer before being named as part of British Athletics relay squad for the 2017 season in November, Fearon is back to plotting his assault on the world on two fronts.
“Not only have I got British Athletics by my side but I’ve got all of British Bobsleigh as well so it’s really exciting” he said.
“British Athletics support me, British Bobsleigh are my rock. I’ve got my coach and everything is good.”
Next year sees World Championships in both sports – bobsleigh first in the German resort of Koenigssee in February before the global athletics gathering in London in August.
And after being allowed to spend the first half of the bobsleigh season concentrating on his own preparations, Fearon is indebted to the support given by both sports, particularly that of British Bobsleigh performance director Gary Anderson.
“I started just after Gary started, about a year after. He’s done such good things,” he said.
“We’ve come such a long way so it’s really exciting. He really listens to us as athletes which is a big deal.
“We very much have a personal relationship with our performance director which a lot of sports don’t have. We get what we need to get the job done which I love.
“He’s allowed me to stay at home, prepare, get ready for that. After Christmas, I will be full of life and hopefully full of amazing things to come.”
When Fearon joins up with his bobsleigh teammates on the World Cup circuit post Christmas, he will do so with his reputation enhanced by last summer’s 100m sub-ten exploits.
But he is not alone when it comes to the sprinting stakes either with 2004 4x100m Olympic champion Mark Lewis-Francis and Tremayne Gilling among those working to make the British sled the fastest around.
“I’m really excited to be going out to the winter season with my new status as fast runner,” said Fearon.
“It’s always good fun to be one that everyone is watching. I’m not thinking about you when I go to bed but you’re thinking about me – that’s exciting!
“We relish the opportunity to be the fastest starting team. We’re going to bring it to it when the time is ready.
“I’ve had a bit of banter with the athletics guys since running that time but I’ve had more with my bobsleigh guys to be honest. Track is a very individual sport so people are very quiet when I speak to them.”
Of the two Brits to have covered the 100m faster than him – Linford Christie and James Dasaolu – Fearon has a close relationship with the latter by virtue of being brother-in-laws.
If all goes well for the two, the duo could even end up uniting in the 4x100m relay at next summer’s World Championships, with devout Christian, family man and bobsleigh sprinter extraordinaire Fearon sure to have plenty of supporters watching on.
“I met James through athletics but then he met his wife through me and my wife. And we both went sub ten seconds so it’s all good,” he said.
“My wife and his wife are sisters. I was married first and they got married after us so that’s how he’s my brother-in-law.
“When we were travelling around, going to all the Diamond League, nobody knew but James was looking after me and making sure I was alright. I’ve got support from all sides.
“Family is massive for me, I’ve got two sons – Simeon and David– and they keep me on my toes.
“If running doesn’t keep me fast, they will. They have never seen me run yet but I told my wife that if I make it to the World Championships in London then they can all come and see me run.”
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