Bobsleigh | Australian Olympic Committee
 

Australia and Olympic Bobsleigh

Australia first competed in Bobsleigh at Calgary 1988. There were two two-man teams and one four-man team. Australia has been represented at every Games since then with the exception of Salt Lake 2002.

The best Australian two-man results came from Jason Giobbi and Adam Barclay at Nagano 1998 and Jeremy Rolleston and Shane McKenzie at Torino 2006, who both placed 22nd. Justin McDonald, Glenn Carroll, Scott Walker and Adam Barclay achieved the best four-man result of 20th at Lillehammer 1994.

At Torino Australia was represented for the first time in the two-woman event by Astrid Loch-Wilkinson and Kylie Reed who placed 14th. Astrid contested her second Games at Vancouver 2010 alongside teammate Cecilia McIntosh. In Vancouver the Aussie men had two two-man teams and one four-man squad.

At the Sochi 2014 Games, Jana Pittman made Australian history by being the first woman to compete at both a Summer and Winter Games as she paired up with Astrid Radjenovic (nee Loch-Wilkinson) to compete in the women’s event. Australia also had a men’s two-man and four-man crew.

At the PyeongChang 2018 Games Australia was represented by a two-man and four-man bobsleigh crew which finished in 22nd and 25th place respectively.

Olympic History

Bobsleigh consists of four events in the Olympic program with four runs each; women’s monobob, two-man, two-woman and four-man.

It is one of the highest profile sports at the Winter Olympic Games, also known as the ‘Formula One race on ice.’ The sport has been part of the official program since the first Winter Olympic Games at Chamonix 1924.

The first Olympic competition was a four or five-man event. In 1928 this was changed to a five-man, only to revert to a four-man event at Lake Placid in 1932 when the two-man event was added to the program. Women's Bobsleigh entered the program for the first time at Salt Lake 2002, with a two-woman event making its debut. In Torino the two-woman event increased from two heats to four heats held over two consecutive days.

During the last century technical regulations governing the design, weight, construction and dimensions of the bobsleigh have been introduced. In 1933 it was forbidden to heat the runners of sleds before competing and in 1947 competitors were forbidden from wearing shoes with “nails” in the soles to give them better grip at the start. Weight restrictions of crew members were also put in place after the 1952 Winter Olympics when the Germans won both gold medals with a combined crew weight of over 472.5kg in the four-man and 236.6kg in the two-man.

Since Torino only the 20 best-ranked sleds compete in the fourth run. Entries are limited to two sleds per nation. The starting order is decided according to each nation's World Cup ranking.

Sport Format

Women’s Monobob, 2-man, 2-woman, 4-man

Athletes push the bobsleigh to a speed of about 40km/h before they jump onto it. Once the crew is loaded, the pilot steers the sled through twisting, high speed turns and straightaways where top speeds can reach more than 130km/h. The success of a team hinges on the initial pushing phase, as well as the steering and the materials of the sled (the sled and blades). If the bobsleigh overturns, but all members of the team have passed the finish line inside it, the descent is considered valid.

In each bobsleigh discipline four heats are held over two consecutive days, with two heats each day. Results are calculated by adding the times of all competition heats together, with the owner of the fastest overall time crowned an Olympic champion.

In the last heat on the final day, the athlete starting order will be sorted in reverse order of their ranking after the previous heat. This positions the leader to have the last run of the day for their shot at a gold medal.

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