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Cool Runners

If you are an exceptional female sprinter with Michael Schumacher-like driving instincts then you may be closer than you think to representing your country at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.

The Australian Institute of Sport is running a talent identification program at Bond University to find potential Olympic contenders for Skeleton - a winter sport where athletes go downhill head-first on a sled.

Assistant Professor Bon Gray of Bond University said the program is looking for females aged 18 years or over with exceptional sprinting ability, good upper body strength, determination and mental toughness.

“Bond University has been designated as a testing centre for determining potential Skeleton athletes using special timing gates to measure explosive sprint ability over 30 metres,” Assistant Professor Gray said.

“Skeleton involves a sprint running start and sliding head first down a bobsled track, so beach sprinters tend to show great promise in the sport,” he said.

The assessment procedures at Bond University are part of the AIS National Talent Search Program, which was encouraged by the remarkable success of its inaugural 2004-2006 skeleton program that delivered an outstanding series of results at the elite level of international competition.

Former Australian beach sprinter Michelle Steele created history by qualifying for Torino after some incredible performances on the world stage, including two top-six World Cup results, and Melissa Hoar claimed the 2006 World Junior Skeleton Championship.

While Assistant Professor Gray will be overseeing the assessment procedures at Bond University, he says the program also represented “a wonderful opportunity for Bond’s Sports Science students to gain further learning experiences with elite athletes”.

“With its world-class sporting facilities and the introduction of new Exercise Science, Sports Science and Physiotherapy programs scheduled for next year, Bond University is fast becoming the number one choice for students interested in pursuing careers in high performance sport or working with elite athletes,” Assistant Professor Gray said.

Athletes with an interest in pursuing an Olympic sport under the guidance of the world’s best coaches and sports scientists are strongly encouraged to apply for the Skeleton program.

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