The bobsled was first developed in 1897 in Switzerland when
a small group of vacationers put the runners on a toboggan to get a great speed
down the popular Cresta Run. Bobsledding, the sport of racing the bobsled down
sloppy areas swiftly became popular among the America and British visitors. The
first bobsleds were made of wood but this was soon replaced by the steel sleds
that were more convenient and faster. In 1924, bobsledding became a part of
Winter Olympics games.
The first bobsledding competition was held on Cresta Run at
St. Moritz on 5th January 1898, with 5-passager sleds. There were two women and
three men in that competition. Furthermore, for better steering, they were
equipped with 4 runners on axles. With this new design, the speed on the
mountains became dangerously fast. Consequently, an artificial bobsled run with
a gentle slope was built in 1902 at St. Moritz.
How the Bobsled Works
Bobsleds are usually designed to carry either two or four
people. The bobsledding race starts with the sled at standstill and racers
besides it. At the final count of three, the racers sprint, propelling their
bobsled by pushing thin metal rods which extend from sides.
The racers are needed to get the sled up to speed as quickly
as possible, then jump in and duck down. The person at the farthest forward
ducks down in the tip of the rocket/sled and then steers using the two rings
that are attached to the metal runners under the sled. Steering is quite
The metal handles retract in the sled to decrease
air-resistance. After all the riders are on the bobsled, the trick is
minimizing steering because every adjustment slows down the sled. There is no braking till the racing is done.
Bobsledding is among the most expensive sports in the world
due to the actual bobsledding which amounts to more than $50000. This amount
excludes the blades which cost over $1000 and all other materials required to
have a fully functional bobsled.
Olympic Bobsledding facts
· Most bobsledding runs are more than 1500 meters
with around fifteen turns throughout the course. This ideal track is included
in major competitions such as Olympic Sports.
· The bobsled tracks can also be used for luge and
· The first bobsledding event for women was the
2002 Winter Olympics.
What you need to Know about Bobsledding
There are two types of bobsledders; the pilots and the
brakemen. The pilot controls or pilots the sled and the brakemen are
responsible for getting the sled to speed at the start and pulling the brakes
at the bottom.
Crashes occur. Because of the intense speeds, if you happen
to break a line or make a mistake, you can be on your head in a blink of an
eye. It is not severe as you think as it only feels like you are in a burning
trash that can be pulled beneath a truck.
There are two types of bobsleds: a 2-passenger and a
The sleds are heavy. A 2-person bobsled is approximately
400lbs, and the bobsledders move all their sleds themselves. As a matter of
fact, moving the bobsled is one of the hardest things in bobsledding – that is
200lbs each to lift between two people.
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