Saturday, February 1, 2014

2014 Olympics Preview: Bobsleigh


Men's Two-man
Women's Two-man
Men's Four-man


You've seen Cool Runnings, so you know the deal. Teams of two or four ride in a torpedo down an icy tunnel and have to steer through the course to prevent their sleigh from hitting the walls or flipping over. The Bobsleigh "run" begins with the team members pushing the sled to build up momentum then hopping on board and riding down hill. There are two important jobs on the sled: driver and break man. In 4-man, the other two are pretty much just there to help push at the beginnnig and add additional weight to the sleigh.


Germany, Switzerland and the United States have been bobsleigh powerhouses. Steve Holcomb piloted the US 4-man sled to Gold in Vancouver and is the top-ranked sleigher in the world in 2-man and ranked second in 4-man. American Elana Meyers and Swiss Fabienne Meyer have similar names and are two to keep an eye on in the women's competition, along with top-ranked Kaillie Humphries of Canada who is the defending gold medalist. The US's win in 4-man was the first time the Germans had not won the event since 1992. Germany has also won Gold in the 2-man sleigh in the last 3 Olympics. The Jamaicans qualified a team in 2-man bobsleigh this year, marking their first apperance in the event since 1994.

US Hopefuls

On the women's side, Elana Meyers is ranked 2nd in the world and has a Bronze medal from Vancouver she is looking to build on. The men's team, led by Steve Holcomb, will need another outstanding performance to top the Germans. The US also tried to go the "Cool Runnings" route with their women's team and convert track athletes into sledders. The second women's team features track athletes Lauryn Williams who won Gold in the Summer Games in London and Lolo Jones who many will remember as the favorite for Gold in the Hurdles in 2008 in Beijing before tripping and falling on the next to last hurdle.


Germany returns to Gold in the 4-man with the US coming in a close second. Meyers and Humphries top the charts in the women's competition.

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