RAF Boulmer bobsleigh star is a golden boy

Collecting gold in Utah: From left, Lamin Deen, Richard Stead, Andrew Matthews and Keith McLaughlin.
Collecting gold in Utah: From left, Lamin Deen, Richard Stead, Andrew Matthews and Keith McLaughlin.

An intrepid bobsledder battled injury to inspire the UK squad to a gold-medal double in North America.

RAF Boulmer’s Cpl Keith McLaughlin and his team secured top spot in the four-man events in Park City, Utah, and Calgary, Alberta, as part of the Americas Cup.

For Cpl McLaughlin, the success was even more impressive considering he was involved in a horrific bobsleigh crash just 10 days before the team’s first victory.

He required 18 stitches to treat a deep leg wound after his sled derailed, spun and smashed into a wall.

Despite being battered and bruised, he competed in both the two and four-man races in Utah, and came away with a podium finish.

He said: “I suffered a pretty severe and deep laceration to my lower leg. I was treated at hospital with 18 stitches and there was a possibility that I would be sent home.

“I’m glad to say that I wasn’t and within 10 days I competed, still stitched up, and we won the four-man gold.”

Cpl McLaughlin and the team moved to Calgary for the second part of the Cup. His stitches were removed, but he was still receiving treatment to prevent infection.

Despite the four-man team crashing in the first run, they recovered to take gold in the final heat.

Following on from this, the team went on to compete in the World Cup, first in Lake Placid and then in Calgary.

Cpl McLaughlin was part of the four-man team which managed a 12th-placed finish at Lake Placid, but his participation at Calgary was cut short after suffering a muscle tear in his back.

He added: “All in all, it’s been a very successful season despite the injuries.”

Keith won the Senior Male category in the Alnwick and District Sports Council Awards in 2012.

The following year, Keith was part of the team which won in the Inter-Services two-man bobsleigh competition – the first time the RAF team had won since 2000.