Culture and Society

How does skeleton sledding work?
Answered by Discovery Channel
  • Discovery Channel

    Discovery Channel

  1. Sledding as a sport began in the 19th century and appears in the Winter Olympics in three forms: bobsled, luge and skeleton. Skeleton is a very intense version of winter sledding, which can result in speeds of 80 miles (129 kilometers) per hour. Sliders wear helmets, aerodynamic suits and spiked shoes so they can sprint along the first 164 feet (50 m) of ice track, pushing the sled and building as much momentum as they can. Sliders then board their sleds facedown and headfirst. The sleds barrel down the 4,270-4,920-foot (1,300-1,500 meter) track, steered by slight shifts in body weight. When the sliders reach the end, they drag their feet to slow the skeletons to a stop. After appearances in the 1928 and 1948 Winter Olympics, skeleton returned to the games in 2002.

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