Pyeongchang 2018

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Rapid running, Cool Runnings and home passion – five good reasons to follow bobsleigh in PyeongChang

SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 17:  Pilot Simone Bertazzo and Simone Fontana of Italy team 1   in action during the Men's Two-Man Bobsleigh on Day 10 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Sliding Center Sanki on February 17, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Bobsleigh is a thrill-a-minute ride that makes spectacular viewing. Here are five reasons to take in one of the most exciting Winter Olympic sports at PyeongChang 2018.


One of the oldest winter sports and a mainstay of the Olympic Winter Games (except in 1960, when the Squaw Valley organisers failed to build a track in time). The first bobsleigh club was started in St Moritz in 1897 and a purpose-built track opened five years later. At the inaugural Winter Games in 1924, there was a two-man bobsleigh event, with the four-man added in 1932.


Imagine driving through a tunnel with your foot pressed down on the accelerator and no brakes: this will give you an idea of what it’s like to race in a bobsleigh. The world record speed in the sport is 95mph, set in 2009, and you can expect teams to approach 80mph at the Alpensia Sliding Centre in PyeongChang.


To excel at this sport you need the speed of a sprinter and strength of a weightlifter. After all, the aim is to move a sled weighing up to 500lbs from zero to fast as quickly as possible. Little wonder that so many sprinters have switched to the sport – the latest being American Ryan Bailey, who finished fifth in the 100m at London 2012.

A post shared by Ryan Bailey (@rbailey_sprints) on

Home interest

The two-man event represents one of South Korea’s best chances of gold in PyeongChang. Driver Won Yun-jong and his brakeman, Seo Young-woo, won the country’s first overall World Cup title in Koenigsee, Germany, last year.

New Cool Runnings

Seun Adigun, Ngozi Onwumere and Akuoma Omeoga are bidding to become the first African bobsleigh team to compete at a Olympic Winter Games – quite an accolade. They are all Nigerian sprinters based in the US. Comparisons with a certain Disney film about the Jamaica’s 1988 four-man team are inevitable. Cool Runnings was hugely popular. Can these three women compete at the top level?


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