Decorated cyclist Eddie Dawkins has set his sights on a new sporting challenge after retiring from track cycling – but first, he has to learn how to run.
The Olympic silver medallist retired in April but has since taken up a new sport in bobsleigh and is currently training with the New Zealand team.
Dawkins says bobsleigh was something he "always wanted to do" since he was first encouraged by his strength and conditioning coach Angus Ross to take up the sport in 2009.
"He (Ross) went to two Olympics as a bobsledder and one Olympics as the coach of the team and he wanted me to do bobsleigh back then," Dawkins told NZME.
"I gave him a message the day I retired and now we're on this slippery slope."
Dawkins says his newfound love for the sport has given him a new sense of purpose after retiring from a successful career in track cycling.
"I needed something to train for. I've been an athlete for a while now so would've been tough just to go to nothing. With bobsleigh it gave me an opportunity to learn a new skill and to develop and be much stronger and powerful than I was when I was a rider.
"I think cycling itself was holding back the strength development in the gym. So without the cycling, the gym sort of started to flourish and that transferred over to the running."
The 30-year-old says his biggest challenge has been learning how to run after years of competing on the bike.
"I could still run but it was ugly. And my stride was really short," he explained.
"The cycling pedalling motion is very small and it's very quad dominant so you're using your muscles in the front of your leg basically – that's all you're using.
"With running the stride is so much longer and so much more aggressive, and you use your hamstring and your glute way more. So the biggest challenge for me has been unlearning how to cycle and to learn how to run."
Dawkins hopes to put bobsleigh on the map in New Zealand and encourages other athletes to give it a go.
"New Zealand is a population built on powerful athletes. Rugby is a super powerful sport and if you can have some of these guys that want to train in the off-season and have the opportunity to maybe go to an Olympic Games or race around the world in something different, while still improving what they're doing in their sport, then that would be great."
Dawkins took out the silver medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics in the team sprint event alongside Ethan Mitchell and Sam Webster, and has also claimed multiple Commonwealth Games medals.
He says he's not thinking too far ahead when it comes to the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing – especially with the volatility of the Covid environment – choosing instead to focus on training and learning the new code.
"[The Olympics] would be a pretty awesome. But for me I'm just excited to get in the sled and start doing a bit of racing."