One of the most well-known sports of the 2022 Winter Olympics is bobsled.
Athletes are tasked with racing in pairs or groups of four using a huge, gravity-powered sled that can accelerate at blistering speeds on a pre-made track. While Olympic bobsled athletes might make the sport seem easy, manning the sled is one of the most difficult tasks of the Olympic games.
But what is a bobsled made out of, how long is the track and how much does it cost to be a bobsled athlete?
Here’s everything you need to know about the bobsled before the Winter Games.
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How long is a bobsled track?
The competition length for bobsled is 1,376 meters or 4,514 feet. The track features 16 curves and a vertical drop totaling 117 meters. The second curve, which has been described by athletes as the toughest, sends sleds hard into the left wall as they exit and could cost teams crucial speed early in their runs.
The chicane, a straightaway with curves, has also proven to be particularly difficult for bobsled athletes as they frequently make contact with the tight serpentine curves described as a “time graveyard.”
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What is a bobsled made out of?
Each sled consists of a hull made of fiberglass, a steel frame, and two sets of runners made of steel and two axles to connect the runners together. The steering mechanism is made of two pieces of rope attached to a steering bolt that turns the front of the sled. Drivers will pull the rope with their right hand to steer the bobsled right and pull with their left hand to steer left.
Each sled also has a brake to stop the team from crashing into the track at speeds above 90 mph.
How much does a bobsled cost?
An Olympic-sized bobsled can cost around $30,000, but the price can increase depending on the design.
How much does a bobsled weigh?
The two-man sled, four-man sled and women’s sled each have different weights.
The two-man sled weighs approximately 375 pounds by itself. Including the crew, a two-man sled weighs approximately 860 pounds.
A four-man sled will weigh about 403 pounds by itself and 1,389 pounds with crew and equipment.
A women’s sled weighs about 364 pounds by itself with a maximum weight of 716 pounds including crew and equipment.