Olympics 2014: Bobsled (Bobsleigh)

Sochi Bobsled Training

Australia’s Heath Spence takes part in a Men’s Bobsleigh training run at the Sanki Sliding Centre, one of the 2014 Winter Olympics venues, at Rzhanaya Polyana, 60 km northeast of the Black Sea city of Sochi, on February 14, 2013. With a year to go until the Sochi 2014 Winter Games, construction work continues as tests events and World Championship competitions are underway. LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images/Newscom. License this image from Newscom.com: afplivefour943897

I know it’s almost the official start of summer and most people are thinking about summer fun and road trips but time is flying by faster than a bobsled team down a sheet of ice. The 2014 Winter Olympic countdown is on and the opening ceremonies will be here before we know it so it’s time to get prepared for the games by taking a closer look at the sports and athletes. What better sport than the fast paced sport of bobsled to start our profiles for the Sochi Olympics?

Bobsleds, or bobsleighs as they’re called outside of the United States, were first used by the adventurous to carry passengers down icy roads and drivers quickly started to race the sleds. The bobsled name came from the rides bobbing back and forth to gain speed down the mountain. The races were popular, but St. Moritz, Switzerland had to ban the sleds from public roads because of safety concerns.

After the ban of sleds on the road the Badrutt family who owned hotels in St. Moritz decided to build a half pipe ice track for races in the late 19th century. The St. Moritz track went on to host the Olympics in 1928 and 1948 and is still in use along with 15 other tracks around the world today. Two more tracks are under construction including the track in Rzhanaya, Polyana, Russia which will be used for the 2014 Olympics.

St. Moritz Historic Bobsleigh

A team on a historic bobsleigh speeds down the natural icetrack during a break of the 2-women competition at the FIBT Bobsleigh and Skeleton World Championships 2013 in the Swiss mountain resort of St. Moritz January 26, 2013. ARND WIEGMANN/REUTERS/Newscom. License this image from Newscom.com: rtrlfive705620

Sochi Bobsled Track

The Sliding Center Sanki is a bobsleigh, luge, and skeleton track located in Rzhanaya Polyana. The Sliding Center Sanki will be an Olympic Venue during the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Andrei Golovanov – Sergei Kivrin/ZUMA Press/Newscom. License this image from Newscom.com: zumaamericaseight603888

When the Winter Olympics first started in 1924 the four-man bobsled was one of the 7 original sports that competed. Bobsled has been a part of every Olympics except 1960 in Squaw Valley when a track was not built to save money. The two-man bobsled was added in 1932 and two-woman bobsled was added at the 2002 games in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Germany has had the most success at the Olympics in bobsled winning 40 of the 123 medals awarded – 16 gold. Switzerland is second with 30 medals followed by the United States with 20. The most famous bobsled team is the Jamaican bobsled team who first competed in the 1988 games in Calgary. The story inspired the movie Cool Runnings. The Jamaican team failed to qualify for the games in 2006 and 2010 but is hoping to make an Olympic return at the 2014 games in Sochi.

Qualifying for the bobsled event will take place from October to January with events around the world. The fastest will travel to Sochi for the XXII Winter Olympics in February 2014.

For more great photos of Bobsled or Bobsleigh check out Newscom.

German bobsled team

Germany’s team pilot Manuel Machata (LtoR), Jannis Becker, Jan Speer and Christian Poser speed down the Horse Shoe Corner during the second run of the 4-men competition at the FIBT Bobsleigh and Skeleton World Championships 2013 in the Swiss mountain resort of St. Moritz February 2, 2013. ARND WIEGMANN/REUTERS/Newscom. License this image from Newscom.com: rtrlfive716594

Dutch two-woman team

Dutch bobsled racers Esme Kamphuis and Judith Vis start in the first run of the women’s two-person Bobsleigh World Cup in Igls, Austria, 18 January 2013. ROBERT PARIGGER/EPA/Newscom. License this image from Newscom.com: epaphotos711334

Torino Olympics bobsled

The sun sets on the last full day of competition out at the Four Man Bobsled at Cesana Pariol at the Torino 2006 XX Winter Olympics hosted by Turin, Italy , February 25, 2006. Steve Russell/ZUMA Press/Newscom. License this image from Newscom.com: zumaamericaseight091895

Russian Celebration

Russian bobsled racers Alexandr Zubkov (FRONT), Alexey Negodaylo, Dmitry Trunenkov, Maxim Mokrousov celebrate after their run during the FIBT 4 Men Bob World Cup in Koenigssee, Germany, 13 January 2013. TOBIAS HASE/EPA/Newscom. License this image from Newscom.com: epaphotos703082

Swiss Bobsled skids check

Switzerland’s pilot Beat Hefti checks the skids of his bobsled during the first training at FIBT World Cup Championships 2013 in the Swiss mountain resort of St. Moritz January 22, 2013. ARND WIEGMANN/REUTERS/Newscom. License this image from Newscom.com: rtrlfive697098

Bobsled driver eyes

British bobsled racers Paula Walker und Gilian Cooke in action during the first run of the women’s two-person Bobsleigh World Cup in Igls, Austria, 18 January 2013. ROBERT PARIGGER/EPA/Newscom. License this image from Newscom.com: epaphotos711753

Bobsleigh running start

(L-R) Germany’s Thomas Florschuetz, Ronny Listner, Andreas Bredau and Thomas Blaschk run at the start of a World Cup race held as a bobsleigh test event at the “Sanki” sliding center in Rosa Khutor, a venue for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics near Sochi February 17, 2013. Although many complexes and venues in the Black Sea resort of Sochi mostly resemble building sites that are still under construction, there is nothing to suggest any concern over readiness. Construction will be completed by August 2013 according to organizers. The Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics opens on February 7, 2014. KAI PFAFFENBACH/REUTERS/Newscom. License this image from Newscom.com: rtrlfive744235

Team Canada Bobsled

The team Canada (front to rear), Lyndon Rush, Chris Le Bihan, David Bissett and Lascelles Brown hit the brakes after clinching a bronze medal. Bernard Weil/ZUMAPRESS/Newscom. License this image from Newscom.com: zumaamericaseight367806

Sanki Sliding Center test

Canada’s Chris Spring takes part in a Men’s Bobsleigh training run at the Sanki Sliding Centre, one of the 2014 Winter Olympics venues, at Rzhanaya Polyana, 60 km northeast of the Black Sea city of Sochi, on February 14, 2013. With a year to go until the Sochi 2014 Winter Games, construction work continues as tests events and World Championship competitions are underway. LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images/Newscom. License this image from Newscom.com: afplivefour944021

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