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Olympic bobsled
© LaPresse

Teamwork, agility and breathtaking speeds best define the sport in which two or four-member bobsled teams push together to start down the straights - only to face some of the sharpest turns in sport - at speeds of up to 135 km/h (84 mph).

Bobsleighing (or bobsledding as it is known in the U.S.) began in Switzerland as a gentleman's pursuit among the rich at 19th century ski resorts - the most famous of them at St. Moritz where the first bobsled club was formed in 1897.

Development of official rules and experimentation with different tracks eventually led to the sport being recognized at the 1924 Olympics at Chamonix. Two-man teams were introduced at the Lake Placid games in 1932.


Canada - CBC Olympics CBC

February 2018 - Olympic Bobsled Schedule & Medal Events
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bobsled                        event final   event final        event final

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Further development of the sport came with the imposition of weight limits on individual bobsled team members, and as fiberglass replaced the wooden sleds to increase speeds.

At the Winter Olympics, a driver and brakeman make up the two-member bobsled team with two pushers joining in for the four-member team. After four rounds, the team which records the fastest time wins.

Interestingly, if the sled overturns before the finish line, the race is still considered valid - but only if all team members remain inside the sled!


DID YOU KNOW? Olympic bobsled fun facts

• Where did the term "bobsledding" come from? The sport got its name after early racers helped propelled the sled forward by bobbing their heads back and forth.

• Four athletes have ever won a medal in the summer and winter Olympics. Eddie Eagan is the only U.S. athlete to do so, winning boxing and bobsled.

• Bobsledding is considered one of the priciest sports in the world due to the equipment costs. A bobsled can run upwards of $50,000 or more -- excluding the blades, which will run an extra $10,000.

• Although a familiar sight now, female bobsledders were not allowed to compete in the sport until 2002 at the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics.

 

More about Olympic bobsled around the Web:


International Olympic Committee - Bobsleigh - Overview of the bobsleigh competitions, list of events, overview of equipment and history, Olympic records, videos and picture gallery.

IBSF Bobsleigh and Skeleton - Bobsleigh and skeleton history, current results and standings, athlete profiles and biographies, pictures, video clips, headline news.

USA Bobsled and Skeleton Federation - Team history and profiles, results and standing, pictures, news, related resources.

Bobsleigh CANADA Skeleton - Official team site offering sport history, standings and results, pictures, athlete biographies, in English and French.

Washingtonpost.com - Everything You Need to Know About Bobsled - Report archived from 1994 with an excellent history and overview, bobsled trivia, animated illustration.

 

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