Sleighs and crews
Rules to play Bobsleigh
Sleighs and crews
Modern day sleighs combine light metals, steel runners, and an aerodynamic composite body. Competition sleighs must be a maximum of 3.80 metres (12.5 ft) long (4crew) or 2.70 metres (8.9 ft) long (2crew). The runners on both are set at 0.67 metres (2.2 ft) gauge. Until the weightlimit rule was added in 1952, bobsleigh crews tended to be very heavy to ensure the greatest possible speed. Now, the maximum weight, including crew, is 630 kilograms (1,390 lb) (4man), 390 kilograms (860 lb) (2man), or 340 kilograms (750 lb) (2woman), which can be reached via the addition of metal weights. The bobsleighs themselves are designed to be as light as possible to allow dynamic positioning of mass through the turns of the bobsleigh course.
Bobsleigh crews once consisted of five or six people, but were reduced to two and fourperson sleighs in the 1930s. A crew is made up of a pilot, a brakeman, and, only in 4man heats, two pushers. Athletes are selected based on their speed and strength, which are necessary to push the sleigh to a competitive speed at the start of the race. Pilots must have the skill, timing, and finesse to steer the sleigh along the path, or, line, that will produce the greatest speed.
In modern bobsleighs, the steering system consists of two metal rings that actuate a pulley system located in the forward cowling that turns the front runners. For example, to turn left, the pilot would pull the left ring. Only subtle steering adjustments are necessary to guide the sled; at speeds up to 80 miles per hour (130 km/h), anything larger would result in a crash. The pilot does most of the steering, and the brakeman stops the sled after crossing the finish by pulling the sleds brake lever.Women compete in Womens Bobsleigh (which is always twowoman), and men in both two and fourman competitions.