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    Since I've posted periodically over the years about the Bobsled/skeleton team (BobTeamIsrael.com) and back when I was doing my skeleton run, it was suggested that it might be fun to have a semi-regularly updated thread on how and where the team's doing on our road to 2022.  It can provide an insight as to how some Israeli Olympic efforts operate and run.  Some of the team members and myself will also occasionally drop in a kind of "blog" as we progress through the run.  Feel free to follow this thread through the next 15 months or DM any questions.

    Brief About Me:
    • AJ Edelman
    • 2018 Olympian
    • Bobsled pilot/driver
    • Modern Orthodox--Maimonides School (Brookline, MA) class of '09

    About the team and organization:
    This past year I recruited 4 rugby players (3 ISR National team Druze (Arab ethnic and religious minority) athletes and an American as well, the 2017 Maccabiah Rugby MVP) to join a 4-man team en-route to the 2022 Olympic Games.  It's a competitive team with a very large chance of making the '22 games (I expect us to make it.)  I am the team's pilot (I am in the front of the sled driving) and general manager. 
    We are licensed by the Israeli Olympic committee and the Israel Bobsleigh/Skeleton Federation which has been around since 2002.  We would be the first Olympic bobsled team to qualify Israel.

    Social Media:
    Facebook (AJ): Fb.com/IsraelBobsled
    FB (Team): Fb.com/bobteamisrael
    Instagram (AJ): Instagram.com/ajedelman
    Instagram (Team): Instagram.com/israelbobsled

    Timeline:
    • Nov '20--April '21: In-season training and a few competitions in Lake Placid if covid doesn't cancel those in January
    • Apr '21--October '21: Training in Israel on dryland
    • Nov '21--Jan '22: Olympic qualification period
    • Feb '22--Beijing Winter Olympic Games

    How we train:
    In-season: tons of runs down the bobsled track.  3 tracks in North America that will be focused on this year: Whistler, BC; Lake Placid, NY; Park City, UT
    Off-season: Sprinting and lifting, and for myself endless hours of sponsorship proposals and grant applications

    Are points ever used?
    Heck yeah, they're pretty crucial sometimes for flights.  Hotels generally have horrible redemption values close to tracks and we only have so many points, so generally we opt to VRBO local cheap accommodation.

    What is bobsled like?  How is it different than skeleton?


    Skeleton was my Olympic sport back in 2018.  It's best described as a more intense/difficult version of bobsled on your stomach, head-first.  I describe it as more difficult because the steering mechanisms of the sled are so much more complex, and the balance element is tough when you're being knocked around violently.  When there's no pain and you're on an easy run then it feels a bit like chaotic flying.

    Bobsled is in my opinion far more fun, as a pilot.  You can see easily, you use your hands to steer by pulling on 2 rings attached to pulleys (so it acts as a kind of front-wheel-drive car in that respect,) and until you flip over it's less painful than skeleton.  All bets are off once you crash/turn though, which is an incredibly dangerous situation.
    For the boys in the back who push--their job is to essentially push the sled as fast as they can for 5 seconds, hop in the back in the correct order (a very difficult maneuver,) and then take an incredible pounding the rest of the run, which ranges from about 52 seconds to a minute.  That feeling is best described as being shoved into a trash can and kicked over masada.  It's a terribly uncomfortable experience.

    What are the chances of qualifying for Beijing'22?
    Quite high! I expect we'll make it.
    What equipment is used in bobsled:
    Bobsled is a niche sport--pretty much the only "standard" equipment used is a motorcycle helmet.
    The other critical pieces of equipment are the:
    • Sled: these are complex machines made to withstand a beating.  They generally retail for 50-80k Euro depending on the type and competitiveness of the sled.
    • Sprinting spikes: We wear specialized sprinting spikes with needlepoints on the bottom to grip the ice during the sprinting start

    • Suits: paper-thin, lycra suits made for aerodynamic performance
    • runners: these are the tires that hit the road for your sled.  Made of 316L stainless steel and highly regulated, a good/competitive pair will set you back over $15,000.  This means we protect them with our lives if need be, always ensuring that they never get close to touching concrete.

    • a burn vest: this is a small vest under our uniforms that prevent our skin from being peeled away from our bodies or burning off when we flip over and are sliding on ice upside down

    How can one try out for the team?  What athletic qualities are prioritized?
    Easy! There's a very simple chart of elite/average metrics at https://bobteamisrael.com/recruiment/
    The skills of a good pusher in bobsled are
    • A love for Israel--no one gets in my sled if Israel isn't their first and only choice
    • Sprinting speed
    • Explosive strength, generally identifiable with power-cleans, squats, medicine ball tosses and standing broad jumps

    In 60 seconds: how does one build an Olympic-contending bobsled team from scratch? What does a day look like? What are the more difficult aspects?


    It's actually quite complex.  It took about 6 months to put everything into place with the current team and plans change by the week due to Covid-related travel and training availability/restrictions.  The primary areas of consideration are always:

    Finances and budgeting
    Finances are the largest stress/burden.  The team has no funding from Israel and since an intended sponsor for this season was unable to support the team as signed off on, I have resorted to borrowing to pay everything out of pocket so the team can continue to train as we seek support through the season.  The team's budget is about $170,000 on a shoestring.

    Athlete recruitment
    Recruitment of athletes who are competitive is really difficult as one might imagine.  It's pretty difficult to find good athletes not already committed to other sports willing to just get pounded all year, leaving their jobs, family, etc. for 6+ months at a time.  Luckily we have found 4 superb athletes and the path to the Games because of this is far clearer.

    Infrastructure and equipment
    The most time-consuming.  Finding insurance for international athletes doing a niche, extreme sport was incredibly difficult and took about 4 months of being bounced around to different agencies.  Equipment there is an abundance of but is logistically difficult to plan for since even moving a half-ton sled/crate has drastic expense so with covid upending travel planning, equipment planning is difficult as well.  Lodging/airfare/food is done on a relatively ad-hoc basis and also difficult as the Covid situation unfolds.

    How can we stay in touch/follow along?
    This thread will be updated periodically for sure, and there's an easy signup link for the mailing list on the team page (BobTeamIsrael.com)

    Is there a way to support the team? (have to put this one here--it is a tax-deductible CC spend opportunity)

    As mentioned the team did have an agreement to be fully sponsored this year but due to the economic situation that fell entirely through.  As such I have committed to borrowing/taking a loan on the team's budget, since I believe this team has too much potential for good to let it fold. Donations of any kind and sponsorships are the lifeblood of the team and we are a 501c3 (so if you need to hit that CC spend, this is a pretty good way to do so  ;D )
    We do have corporate sponsorship avail. (logos on sleds/uniforms/jackets etc.) and donation opportunities.  If the season gets funded (so half the gofundme.com/israelbobsled mark,) I'll be raffling off my Olympic ring.
    https://www.paypal.com/fundraiser/charity/164739

    Where do you train in the offseason?
    Training from May-October of next year will likely be at the Wingate Institute in Netanya.

    What's the most meaningful part of the Olympic journey?
    Lighting channukah candles each year at the Koenigssee bobsled track next to Hitler's home.  Started the tradition in 2015 and it continues each year.  Already have my flight to Munich for December.  It's those kinds of little things that remind you who you represent.

    Does the team have a name?
    Yep! BobTeam Edelman.  Bobsled team's are all named BobTeam XYZ where XYZ is the last name of the pilot.  Alternatively we are sometimes referred to as BobTeam Israel/Yisrael.

    Are there other bobsled teams?
    Indeed there is one other Israeli bobsled team, piloted by a converted parabobsled athlete who found some success in the parabobsled sport.  Unfortunately, in able-bodied bobsled the sprinting start of the run is of the utmost importance and he is unable to perform that role (starting seated in the sled.)  Thus my team's mission is also to support their development if possible to try and get a second sled to the Games, though this would be incredibly difficult.

    shirts/masks/mugs are sold at almost no markup just to get the word out and to provide a fun experience too:
    https://www.bonfire.com/store/bobteam-israel/[/list]
    « Last edited by hgeek23 on October 07, 2020, 04:25:22 PM »

    Author Topic: BobTeam Edelman / 2022 Olympics thread  (Read 7944 times)

    Offline hgeek23

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      • Israel Olympian AJ Edelman / Israel Bobsled BobTeam Edelman
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    Re: BobTeam Edelman / 2022 Olympics thread
    « Reply #60 on: December 15, 2020, 11:28:26 PM »
    Sad I missed it.
    How did it go?

    Decently! I think on fb there is a replay. Also look for a piece on the team in a coming soon in a major publication  ;D
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    Offline lcm

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    Re: BobTeam Edelman / 2022 Olympics thread
    « Reply #61 on: December 16, 2020, 12:28:00 AM »
    Decently! I think on fb there is a replay. Also look for a piece on the team in a coming soon in a major publication  ;D
    Just went over to fb.
    Can't say I watched all of it, but skimmed through a lot of it.
    Wow, wow, wow! Just unbelievable on so many levels.
    Your attitude and perseverance really has such a rich history, of such strong character!
    Fascinating and very impressed with your passion in mental health.
    Love the ddf thought process at about 45 min in about the mileage runs.
    Keep on pumping!

    Offline hgeek23

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    Re: BobTeam Edelman / 2022 Olympics thread
    « Reply #62 on: December 20, 2020, 09:37:52 AM »
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    Offline lcm

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    Re: BobTeam Edelman / 2022 Olympics thread
    « Reply #63 on: December 20, 2020, 10:35:15 AM »

    Good to hear you finally have some more company!
    Love the attitude of persevering despite the challenges. Keep it up!

    Offline hgeek23

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    Re: BobTeam Edelman / 2022 Olympics thread
    « Reply #64 on: December 20, 2020, 11:25:43 AM »
    Good to hear you finally have some more company!
    Love the attitude of persevering despite the challenges. Keep it up!
    Thanks so much!
    « Last Edit: December 20, 2020, 11:30:51 AM by hgeek23 »
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    Offline hgeek23

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    Re: BobTeam Edelman / 2022 Olympics thread
    « Reply #65 on: December 21, 2020, 06:12:59 AM »
    Back to the top today





    Followed by a half push session


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    Offline mlomni

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    Re: BobTeam Edelman / 2022 Olympics thread
    « Reply #66 on: January 12, 2021, 08:04:47 PM »
    How is it going?  we have not seen an update in a few weeks.

    Offline lcm

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    Re: BobTeam Edelman / 2022 Olympics thread
    « Reply #67 on: January 12, 2021, 09:47:17 PM »
    How is it going?  we have not seen an update in a few weeks.
    +1
    I've been thinking the same.
    Hope all is ok!

    Offline hgeek23

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    Re: BobTeam Edelman / 2022 Olympics thread
    « Reply #68 on: February 01, 2021, 12:58:44 AM »
    +1
    I've been thinking the same.
    Hope all is ok!

    I'm very sorry that the last few weeks haven't had an update. Things have been harder than I thought they'd get to.

    We had a couple of articles come out about the team. One in the New York Times that focused on the brain injury aspects of things and one in algemeiner which was quite nice.  The team has grown by leaps and bounds and gets faster every day. We are making huge progress and it's in many ways beyond what I thought I could see. I'm very proud of that.

    Things get difficult on the road, but here things have just been mentally very tough. Our (my) bank account hit absolute zero and the season's only half over, which is obviously a source of stress but the biggest source has been managing the team. Depression has been something I have dealt with for 19 years--it's a life's mission of mine to talk to kids about how it motivates me, but it can make things really tough and in this circumstance it has. Nonetheless it hasn't actually impeded development, probably the opposite. But it burns the internal candle quite fast, and thankfully Israel and the mission is the oil that replenishes.

    The Olympics require an immense, 24/7/365 dedication to a goal that is generally unobtainable. Being a very average athlete, below average I might say by Olympic standards, the only way to ever get Israel to the Games has been to work harder than anyone else. No matter what my athletic shortcomings, knowing that I outworked even the world champions gave immense pleasure and confidence. But that takes a toll, and the toll becomes very difficult to keep on top of if not everyone is pulling their weight. At the moment that is the largest issue, and one which ultimately means the team makeup might not be the same in the Olympic season.  That's all I can really say at the moment, but it's been crushing.

    The self doubt has set in as it usually does on an Olympic run. "I'm not where I could be, I could be better," are constant thoughts. Bobsled is hard. Grueling. Physically it's exhausting. But I firmly believe Israel will benefit and that this will happen. I know it strongly in my heart. I just need to work harder and get better. At the end of the day the only thing that matters is the result. There's no "almost made the" Olympic Games event.

    Usually I'm far more cheerful, but that's where things have been and why I've been quite quiet recently. I honestly don't know how the team will financially make it through at the moment and that's a really tough one.

    Thank you for caring and being supportive. It means the world.
    AJ

    P. S. Since the first crash, in the 75 or so runs since, not a single crash
    « Last Edit: February 01, 2021, 01:15:26 AM by hgeek23 »
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    Re: BobTeam Edelman / 2022 Olympics thread
    « Reply #69 on: February 01, 2021, 01:14:10 AM »
    I'm very sorry that the last few weeks haven't had an update. Things have been harder than I thought they'd get to.


    Thank you for caring and being supportive. It means the world.
    AJ
    Wow.  Raw honesty.  I really hope you make it and I hope more people here will try to help out financially. I donated some time ago and I will definitely try to contribute again.



    @all of DDF.  if I remember correctly a run is like to $70.  Can we raise in the next 24 hours at least $500 to cover a few runs?

    @hgeek23 you are extremely inspiring!

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    Re: BobTeam Edelman / 2022 Olympics thread
    « Reply #70 on: February 01, 2021, 01:35:13 AM »


    I'm very sorry that the last few weeks haven't had an update. Things have been harder than I thought they'd get to.

    We had a couple of articles come out about the team. One in the New York Times that focused on the brain injury aspects of things and one in algemeiner which was quite nice.  The team has grown by leaps and bounds and gets faster every day. We are making huge progress and it's in many ways beyond what I thought I could see. I'm very proud of that.

    Things get difficult on the road, but here things have just been mentally very tough. Our (my) bank account hit absolute zero and the season's only half over, which is obviously a source of stress but the biggest source has been managing the team. Depression has been something I have dealt with for 19 years--it's a life's mission of mine to talk to kids about how it motivates me, but it can make things really tough and in this circumstance it has. Nonetheless it hasn't actually impeded development, probably the opposite. But it burns the internal candle quite fast, and thankfully Israel and the mission is the oil that replenishes.

    The Olympics require an immense, 24/7/365 dedication to a goal that is generally unobtainable. Being a very average athlete, below average I might say by Olympic standards, the only way to ever get Israel to the Games has been to work harder than anyone else. No matter what my athletic shortcomings, knowing that I outworked even the world champions gave immense pleasure and confidence. But that takes a toll, and the toll becomes very difficult to keep on top of if not everyone is pulling their weight. At the moment that is the largest issue, and one which ultimately means the team makeup might not be the same in the Olympic season.  That's all I can really say at the moment, but it's been crushing.

    The self doubt has set in as it usually does on an Olympic run. "I'm not where I could be, I could be better," are constant thoughts. Bobsled is hard. Grueling. Physically it's exhausting. But I firmly believe Israel will benefit and that this will happen. I know it strongly in my heart. I just need to work harder and get better. At the end of the day the only thing that matters is the result. There's no "almost made the" Olympic Games event.

    Usually I'm far more cheerful, but that's where things have been and why I've been quite quiet recently. I honestly don't know how the team will financially make it through at the moment and that's a really tough one.

    Thank you for caring and being supportive. It means the world.
    AJ

    P. S. Since the first crash, in the 75 or so runs since, not a single crash

    Wow, wow, wow. My words won't be able to fully express my thoughts and feelings.

    Firstly, no need to apologize, you have every right not to post, but it's so good to hear from you, and to read  all the really amazing updates.

    I am so happy that you have gotten good publicity, I really that helps with the funding also.

    I'll say it again, your attitude, strength of character and fortitude - awe and never fail to amaze me. How you just face things head on and just plow forward undeterred are really something wow. I am literally awed.

    KEEP ON PUMPING!
    Pull through to the victory not only in the olympics, but in the leadup as well. You are something else and inspiring me.

    Offline hgeek23

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    Re: BobTeam Edelman / 2022 Olympics thread
    « Reply #71 on: February 01, 2021, 08:33:11 AM »
    Just had captured a few thoughts

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    Offline lcm

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    Re: BobTeam Edelman / 2022 Olympics thread
    « Reply #72 on: February 01, 2021, 11:24:27 PM »
    Just had captured a few thoughts


    OMG.
    It's one thing when things aren't so hard, just a bit challenging and not going smoothly when you persevere and keep the we will do it attitude.
    But when you so honestly and in such a raw way spell out the real really hard challenges, and STILL keep up that we will do it attitude, OMG, WOW! Speechless!
    Keep on inspiring us and bring home the victory!

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    Re: BobTeam Edelman / 2022 Olympics thread
    « Reply #73 on: February 02, 2021, 11:05:03 AM »
    OMG.
    It's one thing when things aren't so hard, just a bit challenging and not going smoothly when you persevere and keep the we will do it attitude.
    But when you so honestly and in such a raw way spell out the real really hard challenges, and STILL keep up that we will do it attitude, OMG, WOW! Speechless!
    Keep on inspiring us and bring home the victory!

    Israel must make it. Israel will make it.
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    Offline Luvisrael

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    Re: BobTeam Edelman / 2022 Olympics thread
    « Reply #74 on: February 15, 2021, 11:29:16 PM »
    So Iíve been looking for a video on what the actual experience is.

    Offline hgeek23

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    Re: BobTeam Edelman / 2022 Olympics thread
    « Reply #75 on: February 18, 2021, 01:17:58 PM »
    So Iíve been looking for a video on what the actual experience is.


    Whistler!

    Some footage from today:

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    Re: BobTeam Edelman / 2022 Olympics thread
    « Reply #76 on: February 18, 2021, 07:35:56 PM »
    Whistler!

    Some footage from today:

    Great to see an update! And that's fast!

    Offline hgeek23

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    Re: BobTeam Edelman / 2022 Olympics thread
    « Reply #77 on: February 25, 2021, 02:12:46 PM »
    Think you'll enjoy this.

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    Re: BobTeam Edelman / 2022 Olympics thread
    « Reply #78 on: February 26, 2021, 12:10:59 AM »


    Think you'll enjoy this.



    OMG, that looks crazy!
    Keep it up and a freilichen Purim!

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    Re: BobTeam Edelman / 2022 Olympics thread
    « Reply #79 on: February 26, 2021, 12:55:59 AM »

    OMG, that looks crazy!
    Keep it up and a freilichen Purim!
    +100

    Would love to try! Do you pick up hitchhikers?  ;)
    Monkeys don't fly unless you put them on airplanes