What's it all about?
What would you do if you took your toboggan to the ski hill just to find it frozen? Would you still take a run on the ice? Well, throw in some “yikes!” and “wow!” curves and you pretty much have the exciting sport of bobsleigh.
How it's played
The sport: Bobsleigh is a really fast-paced sport where athletes slide down a curvy track enveloped in a fiberglass sled.
The events: There are four men's and women's events; women's monobob, two-man, two-woman and four-man. (See pictures below.)
The equipment: Think of it as high-tech tobogganing. Bobsleds are made of fiberglass and have ropes inside for steering. And of course athletes must wear helmets.
The strategy: Watch those corners. If athletes don't turn at the right time, they could flip their sled!
The points: Athletes do four runs. Times are added together and the lowest wins. It's a fast sport, so time is counted to the hundredth of a second (0.01).
The athletes: These sleds are heavy! Athletes need a lot of strength to push them at the start. They also need math skills to know when to steer and how much.
Did you know? Bobsleigh is one of three sliding sports at Beijing 2022, along with skeleton and luge.
Things to watch for
- This is the first time you'll see the women's monobob at the Winter Olympics.
- The sled and athlete cannot weigh more than 247 kilograms, and the pilot is the only crew member.
- They have to push and steer the sled by themselves!
Wings of Safety
- The wing-like pieces on the front and back of the bobsled are called bunks.
- They keep the body of the bobsled from hitting the walls of ice on the course.
- Wouldn't it be cool if they helped the bobsled fly a little bit?
- A 4-man bobsled is very heavy, so two people, called pushers, help push it at the start.
- They sit between the pilot and the brakeman.
Bobsleigh or bobsled? Both are right! In Canada we tend to say bobsled while bobsleigh is the official name of the sport.
To steer a bobsled, the driver pulls a rope with their right hand to go right or a different rope with their left hand to go left.
Original sleds were wood. When they were replaced by steel ones, they were nicknamed bobsleds because of how the athletes bobbed back and forth to increase their speed.
This year's bobsled track is the first ever in the world to feature a 360-degree turn!