Māori mā we have a bobsled team!

By Bronson Perich

Nicholas Corban carries on where the 1990s cult classic Cool Runnings left off. The Ngāti Porou bobsledder represented Aotearoa at the Winter Olympics in Calgary, Canada.

He believes Māori and Pasifika are the perfect athletes for the winter sport.

“It’s a fairly natural thing for people who are good at piloting a ship,” Nicholas Corban says.

“Māori and Polynesian athletes in particular would be really suited to the sport, and haven’t really been tapped into yet.”

Bobsleds travel at over a 100 km an hour at gravitational forces equal to air combat. The ideal bobsledder is large, strong, and fast. According to Corban, Māori and Pasifika athletes fit the bill that his sport requires.

“Gravity’s a big factor. You want to be as close as you can to that upper weight limit at all times,” Corban says.

“A lot of our power athletes, might too big to be, say, an Olympic calibre sprinter, or an Olympic calibre long-jumper.”

Other racing sports, like car racing, or yachting, rely on making vehicles as light as possible. Bobsledding relies on gravity pulling the bobsled down a slope.

The heavier the bobsled, the higher the terminal velocity. The higher the terminal velocity, the higher the overall speeds.

Aotearoa is part of the warmer countries' bobsledding group, which get some assistance in developing teams. This includes countries such as Brazil, Jamaica and Nigeria.