As a prelude to our big day, I’m going to give you a bit of history about the world of the Bobsleigh. Bobsled racing began in the winter of 1888-9 using wood-hauling sleds. The Olympic website cites that:
The sport’s governing body, the Federation Internationale de Bobsleigh et Tobagganing (FIBT), was founded in 1923.This competition has been part of the official programme since the 1st Olympic Winter Games in Chamonix Mont Blanc in 1924.
Today’s sleds are built of fiberglass and steel, looking more like missiles than wood-hauling sleds. They come in two sizes, one for two-man teams and the other for four-man teams (Women’s two-crew bobsleigh made its Olympic debut at the 2002 Winter Olympic Games).
Wikipedia describes the skill behind a bobsledding sportsman:
A crew is made up of a pilot, a brakeman, and, in 4-crew only, two pushers. Athletes are selected based on speed and strength, necessary to push the sleigh to a competitive initial speed at the start of the race. Pilots must have the skill, timing and finesse to drive the sleigh along the best possible line to achieve the greatest possible speed. In the early 1950’s weighting was introduced to compensate for the natural advantage of having a heavier team.
On the HowStuffWorks website, Bobsledding is discussing in finite detail (for those interested):
A Few Rules Men’s Olympic bobsled races include two runs per day for two days, and the team with the lowest combined time wins. Women’s Olympic events include only two runs on the same day. Starting order in the first heats of Olympic races is determined by World Cup rankings. Any team that fails to finish a run is disqualified, as is a team that crosses the finish line without all of its members in the bob. However, crossing the finish line with the sled upside down or on its side doesn’t disqualify a team, as long as everyone is still inside.
You might ask why I have such an avid interest in the Bobsleigh, all of a sudden? Well today’s events kind of changed our world and experience here in Calgary. After a crazy week, I’m finally getting to the nitty gritty of it all and will keep you posted :).