Bobsleigh or bobsled is a winter sport in which teams of two or four teammates make timed runs down narrow, twisting, banked, iced tracks in a gravity-powered sled. The timed runs are combined to calculate the final score.
The name of the sport appeared when competitors adopted the technique of bobbing back. This had both short- and long-term outcomes: in the short term the guests began to scheme about and invent "steering means" for the sleds, which became the luge, bobsleighs (bobsleds) and head-first skeleton.
The various types of sleds came several years before the first tracks which were built in St. Moritz, Switzerland. The first forerunners of bobsport originated in Russia in the 17th century, especially in the area around today's Saint Petersburg and Moscow.
In 1888/89, Stephen Whitney joined in Davos, USA two of the low "Americas sleds", which had first appeared in 1887. The first "bob-sled", according to the assessment, was "a very dangerous machine to ride".
Almost at the same time, the Englishman Wilson Smith constructed a sporty sleigh in the town Engadin and used it on the road to Celerina. The journeys on these first bobs were considered adventurous and dangerous, but they were exciting, fast and fun.
The real first Bob was constucted by Christian Mathis in St. Moritz, Switzerland who fabricated steel carriages on which drivers could sit upright and steer them with a rope control. From then on, sleigh building developed in a variety of ways.
Formal competitions started in 1884 in St. Moritz. It's not known how much the original track evolved in the early years as the three sports matured. Subsecquently, the first Bobsleigh Club was found in 1897 in St. Moritz.
Men's four-man bobsleigh appeared in the first Winter Olympic Games in 1924.
The men's two-man bobsleigh event was added in 1932.
Women's bobsleigh competition began in the USA in 1983.
Women's two-woman bobsleigh made its Olympic debut at the 2002 Winter Olympic Games.
Bobsleigh is also contested at American, European and World Cup championships.
The Olympia Bob Run from St. Moritz to Celerina
The Olympia Bob Run from St. Moritz to Celerina is the ice track constructed in 1903. It is considered the oldest bobsleigh track in the world and the only one which is naturally refrigerated. It is also used for other sliding sports, including skeleton and luge. It comprises 14 curves, is 1,722 meters long with an elevation difference of 130 meters and an average grade of 8.14%.
Since the end of the 1930s, guest rides are offered there. The guest rides are carried out in 4men race sleds. The minimum age for participating in a bob ride is 18 years old. But people with back or neck problems, also people who suffer from heart or respiratory problems and guests with circulation diseases are excluded from the bob runs.
In the meantime, guests can relax and indulge themselves with some drinks before or after bob run. One glass of proseco and one glass of beer are included into the price of the bob run. The whole price of which is 250 francs.
You can also observe how four-men race sleds are being prepared for the bob ride and speek directly to the drivers.
Each guest becomes a protective helmet and short instruction before the bob ride.
When your own name appears on the monitor, it means get into the machine!
And finally, the long awaited bob run is starting...
Enyoj this time on the 1,722 meters long ice track!
Enjoy your stay in St. Moritz!
Try to run four-men race sleds!