Ten promising Olympic hopefuls were chosen by USA Bobsled and Skeleton to attend their January Rookie Camp. Each of the athletes was discovered after participating in the team's annual digital combine - the third since being launched in 2020.
These athletes invited to the upcoming in-person camp join a distinct group of talent transfers - or athletes that move to a new sport later in their athletic career - that make up USA's current bobsled roster.
The USABS Digital Combine is the ultimate showcase for athletes who fit that description. In fact, every athlete who was found through the free open tryout this year on GMTM will be sitting in a bobsled for the first time when they arrive for the Rookie Training Camp later this month.
Sydnie Martindale is one of those athletes.
A native of Heber, Utah, Sydnie Martindale is a former volleyball and track-and-field athlete at Brigham Young University. Martindale started her college career at Snow College, where she played her freshman and sophomore seasons.
Martindale transferred to BYU for her junior season in 2017 as a walk-on.
Martindale told the USA Bobsled coaches that transferring from a small junior college to one of Division-I's top volleyball programs was the tallest obstacle she had to overcome during her career. What raised that obstacle even higher, though, was the rehab she had to do on an injured shoulder while earning her spot on a new team.
"When I first got (to BYU), I was still in a sling. I was going through rehab a couple hours a day, so I was never actually playing with my team... and that whole first semester I was in a sling, so I had to watch from the sidelines as my teammates compete and built relationships." - Martindale in her submission to the USA Bobsled / Skeleton Digital Combine
After the rehab on her shoulder, Martindale was able to get back on the court. She was a Libero and Defensive Specialist for the Cougars, helping BYU reach the NCAA Tournament in both seasons. After her senior Volleyball season, she competed in the javelin throw for BYU's track-and-field team in 2019.
"Coming from a small school, I really had to fight for my spot. I knew I was a walk-on. I knew it was an incredible opportunity for me to be on the same court as these athletes... And overcoming (all of that) was huge for me." - Martindale in her submission to the USA Bobsled / Skeleton Digital Combine
Martindale, also a standout basketball player at Wasatch High School, has showcased her love of competition on GMTM, regardless of what sport she's playing. She also participated in the USA Football Adult Flag Football Digital Combine to see if she could earn a place on the U.S. Flag National Team.
With a spot at the upcoming USA Bobsled and Skeleton Rookie Camp this month, it will be exciting to watch Martindale overcome the obstacles of her new winter sport.