The History of Great Britain Bobsleigh

Great Britain has a strong claim to be the founder of bobsleigh sport although it cannot claim to be the origin of bobsleigh.

The invention of Bobsleigh has been ascribed to a group of Englishmen on holiday in Switzerland in 1890. There are pictures from the early 1880s where there were boys at the Harrow School using a sled tied together sliding down a snowy slope.

In 1927 in New York the British Bobsleigh Association was formed as the body that regulates this sport in England. Subsequently in 1980 an Association was established to become the British Bobsleigh Association Ltd.

For the first time in 2002 the number of female bobsleighers increased their participation in competing in the Olympics. Female Bobsleighers who come from the UK reach the top 3 in the world repeatedly. At the 2005 world championships Nicola Minichiello and Jackie Davies surprisingly won silver and gold medals.

Great Britain Bobsleigh is pre-eminent amongst “non-ice” nations.

In 1890 a group of British men who were on holiday in Switzerland found Bobsleigh. At first they created a sled to go down a snow-covered road between Celerina and St. Moritz that could carry two or more people.

After that the new sport was in great demand so a special track was built complete with curved curves made of ice next to the road in 1902.

It has been part of the official programme since the First Olympic Winter Games in Chamonix, with the four-man and two-man events being added in 1932. Two-women Bobsleigh was a new event introduced in Salt Lake City 2002.

Bobsleigh has evolved over the years into a dramatically exciting and demanding sport.

The aerodynamic sleighs race down the 1,300m course at top speeds, the fastest recorded speed being 143 km / hr and has led to Bobsleigh being called the Formula One on ice.

The bobsleighs themselves are extremely expensive high technology machines made from steel, aluminium and composites. The bobsleigher of today is a highly trained athlete, and a good start at the beginning of the run (lauf) is vital.

The team pushes the sleigh and boards and the brakeman jumps in 50 to 60m from the start point. Speed is crucial at this first stage and many top track sprinters make the transition from Athletics to Bobsleigh. Once in the sleigh, the pilot is the only one who can see ahead and steers to avoid the walls. The other crew members keep their heads down, forming a compact surface with minimum drag. The brake is only used to stop the sleigh after passing the finish line.

Pilots are responsible for directing bobsleigh on the right track in the most efficient way possible. In this case the skills and experience of pilots play a very important role. While brakeman requires agility and strength in pushing the sled.

Bobsleigh is a team sport, so teamwork is a very important element in creating the perfect harmony needed to complete a successful run from start to finish.



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