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LEARN ABOUT BOBSLEIGH

The History of Bobsleigh and Where We Are Now

THE INVENTION OF BOBSLEIGH

A BRITISH SPORT

The home of modern day bobsleigh is in St Moritz (Switzerland) as that's where the sport was conceptualised. It was said that a group of English tourists were on holiday in St Moritz in the late 1800's and first started hurtling themselves down the snowy slopes whilst in toboggans that were tied together. This later developed into a racing sport with the first official track opening in 1902 close to St Moritz. 

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THE SPORT TODAY

MODERN DAY INNOVATION

Today the sport has developed and changed a lot since it's beginning with simple wooden sleds and basic track designs. Sleds are now capable of flying down an icy track at speeds of almost 100mph and experiencing up to 9 times the force of gravity as it navigates hair pin curves. There are now 17 tracks worldwide which are spread across North America, Europe and Asia with over 30 nations competing. The Men's field compete in the 2-man and 4-man disciplines whilst the Women's compete in the 2-woman and mono events.

 

Many of the modern day bobsledders are serious full-time athletes who are in peak physical condition. To be a contender in modern day bobsleigh you have to master the 3 main elements of the sport: The start, the drive and the equipment.

THE TRACK

There are many tracks across the world which are different lengths and have up to 21 corners. Each have their own style of driving and many drivers can often struggle to adapt to each as only 6 practice runs are available each week before the races begin. 

Most tracks in the world are artificial which means the track is made out of concreate and has ammonia pipes running through the length of it. The track is then sprayed with water and the freezing cold ammonia refrigerates the track and keeps the ice frozen. The ice is then shaped by the skilled track workers using a variety of tools to ensure a smooth and safe surface. Cutting the track incorrectly can make it incredibly difficult to drive the track and can lead to some nasty crashes. 

St Moritz is the only natural ice track left in the world. This means the track is made out of snow every year and is sculpted by the track workers. The track is kept similar each year with the same corners and directions but it can never be the exactly the same every year.

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TRACKS OF THE WORLD

  • Altenberg (Germany)​

  • Calgary (Canada) 

  • Innsbruck (Austria) 

  • Konigssee (Germany)

  • La Plagne (France) 

  • Lake Placid (USA)  

  • Lillehmammer (Norway)

  • Nagano (Japan) 

  • Oberhof (Germany)

  • Park City (USA) 

  • Pyeongchang (South Korea) 

  • Sigulda (Latvia)

  • Sochi (Russia)

  • St Moritz (Switzerland)

  • Whistler (Canada)

  • Winterberg (Germany)

  • Yanquin (China)

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