bobsledding


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bobsledding,

winter sport in which a bobsled—a partially enclosed vehicle with steerable sledlike runners, accommodating two or four persons—hurtles down a course of iced, steeply banked, twisting inclines. A driver and three bobbers, the last one being the brakeman, compose a four-member crew. A two-person sled consists of a driver and the brakeman. A group of American and English vacationers at St. Moritz, Switzerland, developed the sport, an offspring of tobogganingtobogganing,
sport of coasting down snowy hillsides or chutes on a toboggan, a flat-bottomed vehicle made of hard wood. The toboggan, typically measuring 1.5 ft by 6–8 ft (.46 m by 1.8–2.
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, in the late 19th cent. A part of the Winter Olympic games since their inception in 1924, bobsledding is a sport of exhilarating but dangerous speed (up to 90 mi/145 km per hr). Winners rely on technical sled design, powerful push-offs at the start, and intimate course knowledge to gain split second advantages. Though Americans fared well in early Olympic bobsledding, since 1960, the Swiss, Germans, Italians, and Austrians have tended to dominate the medals. Women's bobsledding was added to the Olympics in 2002.

Bobsledding

 

the rapid descent from a mountain along specially formed runs on steered sleds (called bobsleds). The all-metal, streamlined sleds are made up of hinged parts. The front part is movable and provided with a steering wheel; the back part is immobile and fitted with a brake. Races take place in special runs, or ice troughs, 1,500 to 2,000 m long, with five to eight turns. In descent, sleds reach speeds higher than 100 km per hr. Two-man sleds (length no more than 2.7 m, weight no more than 165 kg, and weight of the team no more than 200 kg) are distinguished from four-man sleds (whose corresponding measurements are 3.8 m, 230 kg, and 400 kg). Bobsledding as a type of sport originated at the end of the 19th century in Switzerland and spread to Sweden, Rumania, Poland, the USA, and other countries. In 1924 bobsledding was included in the program of the Olympic Games. The world champion (1968) and champion of the Tenth Olympic Games (1968, in Grenoble) was the Italian team of E. Monti and L. de Paolis; this team, R. Zandonella, and M. Armano were champions on the four-man sled. In 1923 the International Federation of Bobsleds and Toboggans (FIBT) was founded. There is no bobsledding in the USSR.

A. P. GALLI

References in periodicals archive ?
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