A bobsleigh athlete is unique in the fact that they need to be as fast as a sprinter, but whilst also being able to push large amounts of weight. Although a lot of people are fast, and a lot of people are strong, the unique combination of the two is hard to find. However, often athletes find that making the transition to bobsleigh can be exactly what they needed to continue their sporting career.
For example, a sprinter that is too big or heavy to make it in sprinting may well find that they are the perfect shape for bobsledding. What this does mean, however, is that the sport of bobsleigh has a huge range of shapes and sizes of athlete. Though the archetypal (male) bobsledder would be around 190cm tall, weigh 105kg, be able to run under 10.5 seconds for 100m, and squat 220kg, any athlete that can push a sled efficiently will be able to find success in the sport.
Ultimately, bobsleigh is a team sport, and finding athletes that are good bobsledders is about finding athletes that work with the rest of the team. For example, a team of 4 athletes that all weight over 110kg simply will not be able to compete as they will be over the weight limit. So, a team must be the fastest possible mix of athletes, and if one athlete is incredibly good, but slightly heavier, or lighter than average, then the team might select other athletes around the “star” performer.
There is no other team sport which is governed by thousandths of a second, and as such bobsleigh requires elite athletes, but more than that it requires a cohesive and productive team in order to succeed. Therefore, this must be taken into strict consideration when picking any one individual athlete for a race, or competition.