Bobsleigh is a winter game where two or four players slide on a specially designed icy track using a sleigh that moves at a speed of around 135 km/hr. Considered as one of the high speed and risky sport, it provides ultimate thrill and entertainment to its spectators because of high speed sleighs and the competitive spirit of the game.
In this game, either two or four players drive the sleigh on the ice track and complete the race by providing the initial boost and then maintaining the speed as well as balancing the sleigh on the banked and icy track. Any three teams who complete the race are declared as winners.
Bobsleigh was originated in Switzerland. In the late 19th century, the Swiss first started playing it by attaching two skeleton sleighs together with a steering mechanism added to the front sleigh in order to control the direction. The first races took place in normal snow covered roads.
The first bobsleighing club was founded in St. Moritz, Switzerland in 1897 and the first specially designed race track was developed outside of St Moritz in 1902. The initial sleighing tracks were straight built and later on twists and turns were added to it. Initially wooden sleighs were used for the gaming purposes which were replaced by steel sleighs.
In 1924, men’s four-man bobsleighing was included in the first ever Winter Olympics and the two-man bobsleighing was included in the 1932 Winter Olympics. The women’s bobsleighing began in US in1983 and the two-woman bobsleighing made its debut in the 2002 Winter Olympic Games.
Bobsleigh is mostly played in European countries along with North America and Russia because of the proper climate for the icy track. Germany and Switzerland have been the most successful bobsleighing nations based on their successful track record in all formats of competitive sports including World Cups and Olympic Championship.
Until 1950s, USA was leading the sport because of its technical innovations. However, presently Germany has won most Olympic medals in Bobsleighing followed by Switzerland and United States. Presently, more than 50 countries take part in various bobsleighing events all over the world.
Some of the countries where Bobsleighing is very popular include Germany, Switzerland, USA, Canada, Russia, Great Britain, France, Latvia, Belgium, Romania, and Austria.