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U.S.A. Bobsled/Skeleton Turns to Digital to Find Winter Olympians

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Recruiting for U.S.A. Bobsled and Skeleton has gone digital. And if you think you have what it takes to be a Winter Olympian, you can show off your skills at a digital combine running until September 30.

Here’s how it works. Athletes create an online profile and submit video of them running a 40-yard sprint and performing a standing broad jump. Prospective Olympians can also send any college sports highlight footage, weightlifting accomplishments or anything else they want to share.

Coaches from U.S.A. Bobsled and Skeleton will evaluate the submissions and eventually set up Zoom calls to talk to participants about the sport.

The digital format is decidedly different from the several in-person combines that U.S.A. Bobsled and Skeleton would normally hold across the country. The COVID pandemic put an end to the barnstorming done by Mike Dionne, the director of athletic development.

“Typically we do an in-person combine and run them through sprints, broad jump and shot toss, and from those look for the athletes that score high,” said Dionne. “We look at the athlete’s resume and invite them to a rookie camp in August. It’s been successful. We introduce them to pushing, whether its bobsled or skeleton, and at the end of the week we have a pretty good feel for the fit for the program if they’re interested. We can’t do any of that obviously. So, we got the whole staff together to brainstorm. We created a platform that allows us to cast that net out there in a more creative and engaging way to present the opportunity.”

Dionne and his team have shared the digital combine with roughly 5,000 college coaches, hoping to find male and female athletes. And the group has been receptive to the outreach.

So, what type of athlete is best suited to represent the U.S. at the next Winter Olympics? All sorts.

“They definitely have to have a pretty good base with speed. It’s a speed sport,” added Dionne. “Other strengths are short bursts and power output. All of that combined makes the athlete put it all together and make it happen. You see a lot of athletes stronger in one or the other and if it works, it works.”

Get an idea of what it takes to compete.