Ottawa

Olympic bobsledders surprise Ottawa children after video goes viral

After building a bobsled out of snow, five Edina Street children got a chance this weekend to take a ride with a pair of Canadian Olympians.

Edina Street children built bobsled out of snow outside Cody Sorensen's childhood home

Olympians Cody Sorensen, back left, and Mike Evelyn, back right, cram into a bobsleigh made of snow on Feb. 27, 2022. The bobsleigh was built by five children on the front lawn of Sorenson's childhood home in Ottawa. (Alexander Behne/CBC)

After building a bobsled out of snow, five Edina Street children got a chance this weekend to take a ride with a pair of Canadian Olympians.

About two weeks ago, eight-year-old Elouise Parras, her sister, and their neighbourhood friends were inspired by the efforts of Canada's bobsled team and wanted to try out the sport themselves.

So they built their sled in front of the childhood home of Olympian Cody Sorensen. Elouise's mother, Stephanie Rochon Parras, posted a short video online of them pretending to push off.

The video was viewed thousands of times, and on Sunday the children were surprised with a visit by Sorensen and teammate Mike Evelyn.

"The girls were just inspired by the teams and [their] determination," Rochon Parras said. "And then next thing you know, they were putting their helmets on."

Sorensen said he noticed his childhood home in the video after it spread across social media, and wanted to find out more. 

"It's pretty cool to see," he said. "To be here, to see it in person is pretty special."

As for Elouise Parras, she told CBC News that she hopes to race a bobsled for real one day "because I really want to enjoy the ride, and I want to see how [to] do it."

Sorensen and Evelyn chat with some of the children who built the bobsled. (Alexander Behne/CBC)

'Coolest thing in the world'

During the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Sorsenen and his team placed 29th. Eight years later in Beijing, his crew managed to crack the top 10.

"We're extremely proud with our finish," he said, adding that Beijing would be his last Olympics. "Eight years ago, we came last. Ninth in the world, I think, is pretty darn special."

Evelyn said he cherishes all the time he spent with his teammates in China, and the impact their racing has had on future Canadian athletes like the children on Edina Street.

"This is what it's all about. Being on the big stage is so we can inspire the next generation." he said. 

"And to see this right in our own backyard is the coolest thing in the world."

Eight-year-old Elouise Perras, front right, and her friends on Edina Street in Ottawa built this bobsleigh out of snow. After a video of them pretending to race it was viewed thousands of times online, they were visited Sunday by two members of Canada's Olympic bobsleigh team. (Alexander Behne/CBC)

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