Ever heard of skeleton? It's one of the most spectacular sports on the program of the Winter Olympics. At a speed of more than 100 km/h, you go down a bobsleigh track, lying on an open sleigh. Oh, and if that's not yet scary enough: it's headsfirst.
Two Phits Experts, Manuel Zehetner (BareMotion, Austria) and Eef Lantin (Groep SAM, Belgium), are currently guiding some very promising young skeleton athletes. Together with the Phits Insoles support team, these Phits Experts created the perfect orthotic for skeleton athletes.
The young Belgian Kim Meylemans (°1996) is one of the most talented athletes on the World Cup Tour, although Belgium is not really a country with a wintersports tradition. You have the Belgian Bullets, the national women's bobsleigh team, Bart Swings, the ice skater, and some freestyle snowboard riders, but apart from that, there are not many Belgians ready to qualify for the Winter Olympics in 2018. This season, the European Championships in Winterberg (Germany) are the most important goal.
Kim is only 20 years old, which is very young for a skeleton athlete, but she's very determined to go South Korea next year. The next two years, she will focus completely on the skeleton, even if that means she has to pause her college education in hotel management. When she's at home in Belgium, she trains a lot with the team of Groep Sam. Searching the root cause of Kim's knee, shin and lower back problems, Sam Verslegers, the physical trainer and D.O. of many professional sports people, found out that Kim wasn't perfectly balanced and Phits Insoles were part of the solution. Eef Lantin, Sam's wife, and a very skilled Phits Expert then made the design for the 3D printed custom orthotics. Since she's wearing the Phits Insoles, Kim is able to train pain free, bringer her closer to making her dream come true. "I never wore orthotics before, I wasn't really aware of the benefits, Sam guided me towards this solution and it really helps, we were very surprised how fast I got used to them, I could pick up my regular training program almost immediately!"
Alex Auer (°1991) is five years older than Kim, but 25 is also still very young in men's skeleton, Alex only made the swith from the juniors to the elite athletes two years ago, but he already managed to get the silver at the Austrian national championships and to be a very stable competitor in the World Cup series. 2016/2017 could be his major breakthrough season. Manuel Zehetner from BareMotion assessed his biomechanics and found out that the right insoles were one of the tools that could give him that little extra marginal gain - important in a sport where the third digit after the comma makes the difference. Alex is very satisfied with his pair of Phits: "I can't imagine another day without my insoles! My posture is much better, when I forget to wear them, I feel uncomfortable and uncomplete."
Usually, skeleton athletes don't sprint more than 3 seconds during a heat, but they're 3 very vital seconds. Training days are heavily intensive, so skeleton athletes really benefit from good, custom built orthotics. During the winter season, their training days are typically a combination of technical trainings on the slopes with physical training like running, jumping exercises and a lot of power training.
We wish Alex and Kim all the best for the upcoming season and we hope to see team Phits Insoles at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang!