At the Beijing Olympics, women have an additional chance to win a medal in a sport traditionally dominated by men with the introduction of a new sliding event called monobob.
There are 124 men’s bobsleigh spots and 46 women’s bobsleigh spots at the Olympics, so pilots now have a second chance at Olympic glory thanks to this new discipline.
The “lonelybob” is a single-athlete sled that is smaller and lighter than the traditional bobsled.
The women’s bobsleigh field’s pilots will tell you they can’t contain their elation over getting another chance to compete.
How Much Does an Olympic Bobsled Weigh?
Sledding down a track at high speeds requires a lot of weight, and that weight must be concentrated in the sled.
Each competition has its own set of weight standards, from the absolute minimum (without athletes) to the absolute maximum (with athletes).
If a team is underweight, they may use ballast to bring it up to the limit, but the members of the team themselves cannot participate in the race.
In that case, how heavy is the sled? Close to 400. Weighing in at 375 pounds for two people and just over 400 pounds for four, sleds come in at two extremes.
The monobob is the lightest of the three sleds at 365 pounds and made its Olympic debut in Beijing.
How Does Bobsled Works?
Sleds carrying two or four men (only males are allowed to participate) can reach speeds of up to 90 miles per hour as they hurtle down an ice-covered course measuring one mile in length.
After two rounds, the winning squad is determined by their total time. Crews of two or four push the sled into motion and climb aboard.
It is the job of the front-most crew member, who is also known as the “driver,” to guide the sled. Back there is your trusty brakeman.
The other two members of the four-person team are known as side-push men.
The push-start is essential because it is the only source of power besides gravity.
There is a weight limit of 858 pounds for a two-person team (sled and crew), and 1,386 pounds for a four-person team.
Crews that are subject to these regulations may add extra weight to their sleds. Runners on the sled aren’t allowed to be warmed up (their temperatures are checked before every race) or greased.
This is a very exciting event for a few reasons. To begin, all of the sleds come from the same factory in Munich, Germany, called iXent.
To date, we have never seen anything like this in the sporting world, which truly levels the playing field.
Standardization helps prevent global dominance by the teams with the largest budgets.
Even though there will always be some subtle differences between the sleds in the way they are set up by each team. We wish the best of luck to the bobsledders.