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U.S. Bobsled Team Holds Combine in Bradenton

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The 2016 U.S. Bobsled and Skelton Combine test will take place this Saturday in Bradenton.

Even though Florida is known for its sun and beaches, this Saturday, aspiring bobsledders will spend their day preparing for ice and cold weather.

The U.S. Bobsled and Skelton Team will host a combine in Bradenton for any athlete interested in becoming a part of their Olympic team.

Brian Shimer is the bobsled head coach and a five–time Olympian. He said they’re looking for athletes with “explosive power and speed.”

“We use those athletes as our horsepower,” he said. “Once we get off the ice and in the sled it’s only gravity so the only time we can apply force is at the start so we look for very explosive and very fast and agile athletes that can push the sled as fast as possible and get in.”

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Head bobsled coach, Brian Shimer competed in five Winter Olympic Games from 1988 to 2002.

The team recruits every year and holds combines throughout the U.S. This weekend, in addition to Florida, they’ll hold combines in Maryland and New York.

“We’re always looking for athletes, those athletes that think maybe their athletic career came up short making the NFL or didn’t make the Olympic Games in track and field,” Shimer said.  “So we’re just looking for those athletes that want to continue an athletic career and possibly make a winter Olympic team.”

Collegiate or high school athletes are encouraged to try out. Shimer said it doesn’t matter what sport they played, as long as they can handle running and “explosive” movements.

“The combine is going to be similar to the combine the NFL gives, so we’re going to test speed and explosive traits,” he said.

Those selected from the Bradenton combine will go to a week-long camp to learn how to push a sled. A competition will follow the close of camp and the top scorers will then be invited to participate in “push championships,” where they’ll compete against veteran athletes.

The national teams will be selected from there, and they’ll compete in October in national team trials. The top three who make the team will make the World Cup circuit and that level would be the Olympic team.

However, for those who don’t make the World Cup circuit, there is a lower-level circuit that competes in the U.S. and Canada.

Athletes will need shoes that have running spikes in them for sprint events. They should also bring a towel, water and an energy bar as drinks and snacks won’t be provided.

The combine is from 8:15 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, July 9 at the IMG Academy, 5691 Bollettieri Blvd. in Bradenton.

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