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Sports

Skeleton

Jane Channell in her ride and black Team Canada outfit lies on her stomach and slides on the icy track head first on her skeleton sled.
Jane Channell of Canada slides during the women's skeleton during PyeongChang 2018. (Clive Mason/Getty Images)

What's it all about?

Ever been tobogganing and thought it just wasn't challenging enough? That's probably what the inventors of skeleton thought too. Challenge accepted — they made the sled super small and went head-first down the mountain.

How it's played

Things to watch for

Nigeria's Simidele Adeagbo competes in the women's skeleton heat at PyeongChang 2018. (Mark Ralston/Getty Images)
Nigeria's Simidele Adeagbo competes in the women's skeleton heat at PyeongChang 2018. (Mark Ralston/Getty Images)

Spiky shoes

  • Athletes’ special shoes have at least 250 very thin spikes on the soles.
  • The spikes help the athletes grip the ice as they get their running start.
  • Compare that with track-and-field shoes, which have from seven to ten spikes.
Ghana's Akwasi Frimpong slows down at the end of the men's skeleton run at PyeongChang 2018. (Mark Ralston/Getty Images)
Ghana's Akwasi Frimpong slows down at the end of the men's skeleton run at PyeongChang 2018. (Mark Ralston/Getty Images)

Don't be a drag

  • It's a bad sign if an athlete's feet are dragging on the ice during their slide.
  • It means they're trying to slow themselves down, maybe to avoid flying off the track in an upcoming turn.
  • Dragging their feet at the end of their runs is OK — that's how they stop!
Kevin Boyer of Canada slides during the men's skeleton heats at PyeongChang 2018. (Lars Baron/Getty Images)
Kevin Boyer of Canada slides during the men's skeleton heats at PyeongChang 2018. (Lars Baron/Getty Images)

The inside line

  • Making good turns is important to get down the track quickly.
  • Athletes try to stay to the inside of a curve.
  • Hitting a curve at the outside could make them go too high.
Action packed facts.
  • Athletes can cheat by heating the runners on the sled to make them go faster, so their temperature is taken at the start of each race.

  • Sliders take a 50-metre running start before hopping on the sled. This helps them race down the track even faster.

  • The only way to steer a skeleton is with slight head, shoulder or body movements.

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