It is remarkable that, when facing tragedy and devastation and against all odds, there are individuals out there able to discover inner strength and emerge victorious on the other side. Corie Mapp is one such individual and his book Black Ice is the account of his life which nearly ended when suffering massive injuries from an Improvised Explosive Device (IED).
Born in Bridgetown, Barbados, Mapp recalls his early childhood growing up in his family parish, surrounded by the tranquil sandy beaches. With charismatic parents and four older sisters, Mapp was raised in a loving household whose main focus was that of religion and education. From an early age Mapp developed a strong faith, though he often endured tough times at school.
We learn of his time with the Barbados Youth Service to joining the elite Life Guards where he performed public duties at Windsor Castle, before being deployed to Afghanistan. Mapp’s passion lay with the military, and it required discipline, focus, early starts and late nights, extreme mental and physical strength, and often prolonged time away from family. Whilst Mapp’s military experience is fascinating, it is the account of the IED explosion in 2010, and his response to it, that caused me to pause and acknowledge his bravery and heroism as he continuously put both his country and comrades before himself.
Though Mapp’s memory fades at the moment of the attack, he provides an intimate account after awakening from a coma. His subsequent depression and lack of purpose from the loss of his legs shows a vulnerability that is truly affecting. Despite his suffering, during his weeks in hospital Mapp began to rediscover an inner strength with vital help from his family, comrades, and religion. This newfound zest for life was channelled into Mapp’s love of sport, but he had to re-learn playing his favourites of cricket and volleyball.
Bobsleigh was the sport that best demonstrated Mapp’s talent. Training came with its own difficulties and dangerous accidents, but he invites the reader on his bobsleigh journey, which culminated with the pinnacle of his new career as World Cup champion in 2018. Now a Police Community Support Officer, Corie Mapp is an example for all in never allowing adversity to thwart one’s dreams, and Black Ice is an insipring story of bravery, determination, resilience and triumph.
Black Ice: The memoir of a soldier, double-amputee and World Champion by Corie Mapp & Christopher Joll is available now and published by Nine Elms Books.