Her Olympic bobsleigh colleagues spent their formative years in the Alps, the Colorado mountains and the icy wastes of Scandinavia.
Jackie Davies's introduction to the sport came from somewhere a little less exotic.
The Birmingham-born soldier's first taste of the daredevil sport came as a youngster sledging in the Lickey Hills.
The 28-year-old from Longbridge is competing in the two-man women's bobsleigh today in Turin, and she hopes to follow in the tracks of her silver medal-winning compatriot Shelley Rudman.
Ms Davies took up the sport eight years ago while in the Army, where she is currently a corporal serving as a telecommunications technician in the Royal Signals Regiment.
"I got into bobsleigh through one of the Army's ice sports camps," she said.
"Before that the nearest I got to winter sports was going sledging on the Lickey Hills each time it snowed.
"I had never really seen bobsleigh before accept in the film Cool Runnings, so I had no idea what to expect. I found it one of the scariest, most exhilarating sports I have ever done - I got hooked."
Discovering she had a talent, she took up the sport competitively almost straight away. The Army supported her financially, providing her with the time and equipment to hone her skills. In 2002 she entered the Olympics in Salt Lake City.
"My mum thought I was crazy and so did my friends," she said.
"Most of the time when I tell people I bobsleigh they don't believe me. After my mum's initial shock she really encouraged me to work hard at it. She was ecstatic when I made the Olympics in 2002."
Training for her and partner Nicola Minivhello is a rigorous, year-round responsibility with long periods spent away from home. The bobsleigh reaches hair-raising speeds of up to 80mph.
"Bobsleigh is an extremely difficult sport encompassing speed, strength, power and skill. You need complete dedication to become world class. It's not only a sport, it is a lifestyle and not for the faint-hearted.
"In the off season I train six days a week, usually twice a day. It does affect my social life and it's a good job I have understanding friends and family as a lot of time they get neglected.
"Holidays always have to be planned around training - to be at the top in sport you need to commit and make sacrifices. The Army has been very supportive allowing me to train full time so I can prepare fully," she said.
Her inspiration, when traipsing to the gym seems a chore, comes from a very special source.
"My sister Samantha went to the Olympics in 2000 to compete in the 200 metres. I saw how hard she worked and she inspired me to do the same. I also get a lot of inspiration from my team-mate Nicola.
"Before bobsleigh she did heptathlon - she is a fantastic athlete and I have aspired to be just like her.
"Whenever I feel the pressure getting to me, I remember my basic training for the Army and how tough that was. Nothing compares to the pressure of going into battle."
Before her race today she will have eased herself into the mindset of the Olympian. And being a Midlander rather than a Muscovite won't be a drawback when she leaps into the sleigh.
She said: "I like to make sure I have a good sleep the night before racing. I also visualise how I want to perform - how I'm going to feel - and see us winning.
"We have worked very hard to get here and I feel we have a fantastic chance this time around.
"We proved we can compete on a world stage when we finished second in the World Championships last year and I feel confident we are on the right track."