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How would you like to hurtle yourself down a 1200-1600 meter ice-covered incline with 15-20 turns at 160 km per hour in nothing more than a glorified garbage can?
That's exactly what bobsledders do in either two or four-man teams. Women didn't begin bobsledding until 2002 at the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. They only compete in the two-person bobsledding event.
The bobsled was developed in the late 19th century when a toboggan was outfitted with runners and a steering mechanism at St. Moritz in Switzerland. The first sleds were made of wood but were soon replaced by faster steel sleds. The sport took its name from the bobbing heads of the competitors as they tried to gain speed...Walls of ice, about 18 inches high, keep the sleds from flying off the runs as the sleds approach speeds of 90 miles an hour. Runs take less than a minute and the crew feels five times the force of gravity when braking. from: http://2010games.nytimes.com/events/bobsled/index.html
This past Saturday, Canadians Lyndon Rush and Lascelles Brown won a (shared with Germany) gold medal in the World Cup in St. Moritz, even though Rush was suffering from the flu. The four-man team and the women's team didn't fare well, though. Read all about it here!
The Canadian Olympic Bobsled Team will be announced Jan. 27 at Olympic Heights School in Calgary. If you're interested in watching the bobsledding on TV during the Olympics, here's a bit of the schedule:
Women's Heat 4 - February 24, 9:00 PM ET
Four-Man Heat 4 - February 27, 5:15 PM ET
Personally, I think it'd be quite a "rush" to hurtle down a mountain at 160 km per hour!
Here I am up in Whistler a couple of years ago sitting in an official Olympic four-man bobsled. How they squeeze four men in there is beyond me!
To see more contributions to Round 6 of ABC Wednesday, just click here.