Olympic Sports >> Bobsled

Bobsled

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The Competition

Objective

To complete a downhill descent as fast as possible on an ice surface track in sleds designed for teams of two or four competitors.

3 events (2 for men, 1 for women)

Four-man bob (men), Two-person bob (men and women)

Venue

The Whistler Sliding Centre

Competition dates

Feb. 20, 21, 23, 24, 26 and 27

The Race

There are four heats, two on the first day, and two on the following day. The team with the fastest overall time after completing all four heats is the winner. In the event of bad weather or a damaged track, organisers may cancel one or two heats. The final standings are then determined after 2 or 3 heats.

Important Dates

  • 1888 : Briton Wilson Smith joined two sled runners to a makeshift chasis and the bobsleigh was born.
  • 1889 : The first competitions were organised at the Swiss ski resort of St Moritz. There were no limits on the number of competitors making up a team.
  • 1923 : Founding of the International Federation of Bobsleigh and Toboganning (FIBT).
  • 1924 : The bobsleigh event (4 or 5 per team) was held at the first Winter Olympics in 1924 at Chamonix.
  • 1932 : The two-man event was held for the first time at the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid.
  • 1960 : The organisers at Squaw Valley declined to host a bobsleigh event for the first time in Winter Olympic history, claiming that the construction of a track was too expensive for just a handful of competitors.
  • 1969 : Inauguration of the first artificial track at Konigssee-Berchtesgaden in Germany.
  • 2002 : Women make their debut at the Salt Lake Games in a two-person event.

Stars

Eugenio Monti (ITA)

With 11 world titles from 1956 to 1968, the Italian is the most successful competitor in the history of the world championships. Won six Olympic medals, two of each colour. He was over 40 when he became Olympic champion in both two and four-man disciplines at Grenoble in 1968.

Wolfgang Hoppe (E.GER-GER)

The most successful pilot of all time with a combined medals total of 33 - including 14 gold - won at world, European and Olympic events. Holds record for most world championship medals with 19, eight of which were gold. This former decathlete competed for East Germany from 1983 until 1990 before unification. Hoppe became the fourth driver to do the double and win gold in the two and four-man events in 1984 in Sarajevo.

Meinhard Nehmer (E.GER)

A former javelin thrower, Nehmer won his first Olympic gold medal at the age of 35 in 1976. Won a total of three gold medals at the 1976 and 1980 Games, an Olympic record he shares with teammate Bernhard Germeshausen. He is the only driver to hold this distinction

Copyright 2008 Agence France-Presse.



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