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Sochi 2014: Team GB's Olympics in review

Sochi 2014: Team GB's Olympics in review

Sochi is over and the countdown quickly resets to Pyeongchang, where hopes are high that Team GB can continue their winning ways in four years t...

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History

In the last two decades of the 19th Century a new phenomenon appeared in the Alps – the bobsleigh – courtesy of British sportsmen who were searching for the extreme version of the toboggan. The first “bobs” were built in 1886 and were raced down icy, winding roads. Bobsleigh clubs were formed, the bobsleigh itself was developed and the need for purpose-built tracks and standardised rules became evident. The name bobsleigh was derived from the way early crews would rock back and forth to try and increase the speed of the sled.

For years it was universally accepted that bobsleigh had originated in Switzerland in the late 1800s. However a few years before the Nagano Games it was discovered that lumber sheds had been raced in Albany, N.Y. in the 1880s and thus perhaps a few years before the sport was started in Switzerland.

The sport’s governing body, the Federation Internationale de Bobsleigh et de Tobagganing (FIBT), was founded in 1923.

 

Olympic History

The sport has been part of the official program since the first Olympic Winter Games in Chamonix 1924.

The first Olympic competition was a four or five-man event. In 1928 this was changed to a five-man, only to revert to a four man event at Lake placid in 1932 when the two-man event was added to the program. Women's bobsleigh entered the program for the first time at Salt Lake 2002, with a two woman event making its debut. In Torino the women’s two-man event will increase from two heats to four heats held over two consecutive days.

During the last century technical regulations governing the design, weight, construction and dimensions of the bobsleigh have been introduced. In 1933 it was forbidden to heat the runners of sleds before competing and in 1947 competitors were forbidden from wearing shoes with “nails” in the soles to give them better grip at the start. Weight restrictions of crew members was also put in place after the 1952 Winter Olympics when the Germans won both gold medals with a combined crew weight of over 472.5kg in the four-man and 236.6kg in the two-man.

Technical

The driver steers the bobsleigh by means of steering handles and cords attached to a steering mechanism for the front axle. He is only one with a clear view of the track, selecting the fastest line through the curves. The crew sit behind him, tilting their heads to round the curves more effectively.

equipment

The Sled

The sled consists of a main hull, a frame, a front and rear axle, and two sets of runners. The hull, also known as a cowling, is generally constructed of fibreglass and made of two separate sections. The hull is mounted on four runners that each must be made of a single solid piece of steel.

No plating or coating is allowed. It is not permitted to warm up runners or use any substance that improves sliding. At the start of the race, the temperature difference between the runners and the reference runner, which is exposed to the open air for one hour before the start of the competition, must be no greater than plus or minus four degrees Celsius.

A bob may have a cowled front end but must be open at the rear. Push bars protrude from the hull at the start of a race. Those for the second and third man in the four man event must be retractable.

Each bobsleigh has a harrow type brake which can only be applied at the finish. Braking during the race means automatic disqualification.

rules

Competition Format

The men’s Olympic Bobsleigh competition, for each event, lasts over two days, with two runs contested on each day. The competition consists of four runs timed to .01 seconds. The final standings are determined by the total time over the four runs; the winner is the sled with the lowest aggregate time. If two teams complete the competition in a tie, they are awarded the same place.

The women’s competition is also run with four runs, two each day, with the lowest aggregate time determining the final standings. A tie results in an equal placing.

Team HeroesEntire Team

Robin Dixon, alongside team mate Tony Nash, won a gold medal at the Innsbruck 1964 Olympic Winter Games in the two-man bobsleigh event. This was the first two-man bob medal Team GB had won in the history of the Olympic Games.

Dixon was ...

Tony Nash, alongside team mate and brakesman Robin Dixon, won a gold medal at the Innsbruck 1964 Olympic Winter Games in the two-man bobsleigh event; the pairs debut Olympic Games. This was the first two-man bob medal Team GB had won in th...

Our Results

Total: 3 medals
  • 1 Gold
  • 1 Silver
  • 1 Bronze
Chamonix 1924
  • 0 Gold
  • 1 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
St Moritz 1928
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Lake Placid 1932
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
St Moritz 1948
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Oslo 1952
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Squaw Valley 1960
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Innsbruck 1964
  • 1 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Grenoble 1968
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Sapporo 1972
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Innsbruck 1976
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Lake Placid 1980
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Sarajevo 1984
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Calgary 1988
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Albertville 1992
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Lillehammer 1994
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Nagano 1998
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 1 Bronze
Salt Lake City 2002
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Turin 2006
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Vancouver 2010
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Sochi 2014
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
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