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Big boost for bobsleigh team

MEDIA RELEASE FROM THE NZ ACADEMY OF SPORT SOUTH ISLAND

Big boost for bobsleigh team with coach appointment


The New Zealand bobsleigh team has received a major boost, gaining the services of internationally renowned coach, Gerd Grimme[i].

Grimme has coached two world champion bobsleigh teams and directed and coached elite teams in Canada and Europe.

He has been secured by the New Zealand Academy of Sport South Island, with funding support from Sport and Recreation New Zealand (SPARC).

The 50-year-old German was High Performance Director and Head Coach of Men’s Bobsleigh with Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton, and has coached and directed bobsleigh for the Netherlands, Norway and Germany.

New Zealand Winter Sports Performance Director Ashley Light is thrilled to have attracted a coach of Grimme’s calibre to the programme.

“We’re very serious about our potential to rank in the top 10 in the world, but can only achieve this by focusing our resources and by utilising elite talent. We know we have the capability in our athletes to match the world’s best, and to have a world-leading coach directing them ensures the programme is the best it can possibly be.”

“We are increasingly confident the process will produce a team capable of world-class performance.”

Grimme’s job in New Zealand will be to develop and prepare a bobsleigh squad for competition at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.

He is in Dunedin for three months now to plan for and coach the athletes in preparation for the 2009 World Championships to be held in Lake Placid, one of the most difficult tracks on the World Bobsleigh Circuit.  Grimme will alternate his time between Germany and New Zealand for the next year.

Grimme, one of the sports’ elite coaches relishes the opportunity to develop the New Zealand squad.

“Because I have achieved at the highest level and understand what it takes to perform in the event, I can see the current project has great potential. I am happy to be contributing to the challenge ahead,” he said.

The bobsleigh squad was selected earlier this year recently after a nationwide talent identification process funded by the SPARC.  The squad had its first training camp in May. 

The SPARC investment has tough performance indicators based on the target of a world class performance at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games.

The bobsleigh athlete’s on-going development will be managed by the New Zealand Academy of Sport’s Winter Performance programme.   The High Performance programme supports several winter sports, coordinating and providing coaching, sports science, medical and performance support to the elite winter athletes capable of success on the world stage.  Medals at the Winter Olympics are the focus.

About the New Zealand Academy of Sport South Island

The Academy South Island, works in partnership with the other parts of the New Zealand Academy of Sport Network and SPARC to provide high performance support, services and advice to athletes, coaches and other personnel. The focus is on excellence - helping our top athletes achieve optimal performances.

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