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Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Bobsledding

Tobogganing or bobsledding dates from the 16th century. It became established as a racing sport in Switzerland in about 1879 when a special luge run was created at Davos.

The name "bobsledding" came from early racers bobbing their heads backwards and forwards. It didn't work, but the name stayed with the sport.

The first ever bobsleigh track was built by St Moritz’s Palace Hotel owner Caspar Badrutt in 1870. It was subsequently used for two Winter Olympic games and is still in use today.

Until the 1950s, U. S. bobsledders were the best in the world, in part because of technological innovations. Bob and Bill Linney in the late 1930s built a two-man sled with a steel plank as the linkage. The plank's flexibility allowed much greater speed through turns. 


Prince Albert formed Monaco's bobsleigh team in 1986, which debuted at the Calgary Olympics in 1988. In 2005 he competed in his fifth and final Winter Olympics in the four-man bobsleigh.

Bobsleigh and bobsledding are both correct names for the large sled made up of two sections linked together. The frame is made of metal, the shell of fiberglass or similar material. There are two sizes, two-man and four-man.

In the Olympics and other major competitions, the bobsled run is at least 1,500 meters (about 1,640 yards) long and it has about 15 or 20 turns. The average slope ranges between 8 and 15 percent.

Due to the high speeds while running a bobsleigh track, there have been 16 fatalities since 1933. Six of these were during practice runs for the World Championships.

The fastest speed attained in a bobsled is 201kph (124.9mph), yet the US Bobsled & Skeleton Federation has since claimed it lower to account for wind, slope angle and ice condition.

Despite being portrayed as illegal in the film Cool Runnings, the addition of metal weights to the front of any bobsleigh is a perfectly legal way of increasing speed.

Sources http://www.edgate.com/wintergames/design/spotlight_sport/bbsled.htm, http://www.howitworksdaily.com/transport/top-five-facts-bobsleighs/

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