Olympic Briefing: Skeleton

Press Clippings: The Olympic Skeleton run is a more traditional type of sledding in which the athlete rides lying face down on a prepared sled run. The sport was put into the Olympics on a permanent basis in 2002; previously, it had been featured in the 1928 and 1948 Olympics in St. Moritz, Switzerland only. St. Moritz is, not coincidentally, the home of the famed “Cresta Run“, which is built and maintained by the town of St. Moritz and the St. Moritz Tobogganing Club, one of the better athletic clubs in the world and one that is 100% amateur. The fact that it’s located in one of the great ski resorts of all time only adds to its glamour but the focus of the SMTC is the Cresta Run. The sleds are steered by a combination of weight and balance shift and using the toes of the sledder as “rudders”.  Modern skeleton’s are made primarily of metal and have no brakes or steering mechanisms . Here’s a really great–and appropriate–overview of the skeleton, from the Russian Bobsled Federation. And, if you want to know even more about how a skeleton sled actually works, check out this study by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, which is exhaustively scientific (of course) but massively informative. View one of the Official Olympic videos on skeleton for a more visual introduction to the sport. But…with all of these references, you get the point: this is quite a sport and a very exciting one at that.

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