How Bobsledding Works

Winter Sports Image Gallery German bobsled pair Andre Lange and Kevin Kuske race to win the final two-men bobsled World Cup race on February 16, 2008. See more winter sports pictures.

If you've ever hit a patch of ice while driving your car, you've experienced a very tiny piece of what driving a bobsled is like. On an icy road, there's almost no friction between your tires and the road surface, so you can't steer very well. And any sudden moves, like hitting the brake, can send you spinning out of control.

So imagine if your car were open at the top and back, like a bobsled, and that the patch of ice lasted for almost a mile. It's n­ot a mile of straight, level road, either -- it's full of dramatic curves and downhill most of the way. That's what being in a bobsled is like. Drivers and crew plummet down a hill on a track, or run, that's full of twists and turns. A wrong move can cause a dramatic crash.­

As with soccer, Americans are in the minority for use of the word "bobsled." In most of the world, it's a bobsleigh. But no matter what you call it, bobsledding is a fast-paced sport that relies on a precise combination of skill and physics. In this article, you'll learn about the athletes that make up a bobsled team, their training and their equipment. You'll also learn about bobsled runs and the physics behind bobsledding.

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