Bobsleigh at the 2018 Winter Olympics

Dates 18 – 25 February 2018
Medal Events 3

The bobsleigh events of the 2018 Winter Olympics were held at the Olympic Sliding Centre, which also staged the luge and skeleton events. Situated at the Alpensia resort, in the township of Daegwallyeong-myeon, work started on the new purpose-built centre in 2014 and it was ready to host the final round of the 2016-17 IBSF World Cup in March 2017. With facilities for 7,000 spectators, the track for the three bobsleigh events measured 1376.38 metres, with 16 curves, and an average gradient of 9.48%. A tricky and technical course, corners two and nine were critical ones for pilots to negotiate.

To qualify for PyeongChang, pilots must have been ranked in five races on at least three different tracks in the World Cup, North American Cup or Europe Cup, in the two winters before the Games. Those rankings had to include at least three races on two different tracks in the 2017-18 season. In addition, the athletes had to be among the top 50 2-man and 4-man pilots, and top 40 women pilots in the IBSF discipline rankings, as of 14 January 2018. The host nation Korea was guaranteed a place in each discipline, provided their athletes satisfied the qualification criteria. Canada and Germany each had three teams take part in each of the three disciplines, while the United States had three teams in the men’s events, but only two in the women’s event.

In each discipline, race order was decided by the following rules: In race heat one, the top 10 ranked pilots by the IBSF in each discipline started in order 6-15. The starting numbers 1-5 were decided by lots amongst the remaining teams, and then the rest started from 16 downwards, depending upon IBSF ranking. In heat two, the first 20 from heat one started in reverse order with the remainder starting in order, from 21 downwards. In heat three the sleds started in finishing order at the end of heat two and, in the final heat, only the best 20 teams started, and in reverse order, with the race leader having the advantage of starting last.

After the Jamaican 4-man team made history at the 1988 Calgary Games, the Jamaican women emulated them by competing for the first time at PyeongChang, and had finished a creditable seventh place in the Winterberg round of the 2017-18 World Cup. Also making history were the Nigerian women, who became the first African nation, male or female, to compete in the Olympic bobsleigh competition.

The 2-man event saw the gold medal shared between Justin Kripps and Alex Kopacz of Canada, and Francesco Friedrich and Thorsten Margis of Germany. The only other time this happened in Olympic history was at Nagano in 1998, when another Canadian pair, Pierre Lueders and Dave MacEachern, shared gold with the Italians Günther Huber and Antonio Tartaglia. They are the only two occasions the Canadians have won 2-man gold. Germany maintained their excellent record of eight 2-man golds, including four at the last five Games.

The Germans Mariama Jamanka and Lisa Buckwitz also won the women’s gold after a great four-heat battle with the Americans Elana Meyers Taylor and Lauren Gibbs. The US pilot had won everything in the sport, except Olympic gold, which eluded her by just 7/100ths of a second in PyeongChang.

Germany made it three golds out of three when Francesco Friedrich piloted the German 4-man team to first place as they emulated the USA 2014 team by winning four medals (three golds and one silver). Kevin Kuske, a member of the German silver-medal 4-man winning team, became the most decorated Olympic bobsleigher of all time with his sixth medal (four golds and two silvers), stretching back to 2002, while the Korean sled piloted by Won Yun-Jong captured the first Olympic bobsleigh medal for not only Korea, but for any Asian nation. Since Sochi in 2014, the rules now permitted the 4-man event to have mixed gender teams, although this did not happen at PyeongChang.

Germany headed the medal table with three golds and one silver with Canada next best with one gold and a bronze. Remarkably, despite over 750 official training and race runs at PyeongChang, there were only two major incidents. The first involved the Germans Nico Walther and Christian Poser, who lost control and flipped over as they crossed the finish line at the end of race heat two, but still managed to hold on to overall first place. The other was in training for the 4-man event, when the Australian crew turned over on corner 15, following a mistake at 12, on the fourth training heat, but they were back in action for heats 5 and 6.


Event Status Date Participants NOCs
Two, Men Olympic 18 – 19 February 2018 61 18
Four, Open Olympic 24 – 25 February 2018 116 18
Two, Women Olympic 20 – 21 February 2018 41 12
167 (126/41) 22 (19/12)


Event Gold Silver Bronze
Two, Men Canada 1
Germany 2
Latvia 2LAT
Four, Open Germany 2GER Germany 3
Republic of Korea 1
Two, Women Germany 1GER United States 1USA Canada 1CAN

Medal table

NOC Gold Silver Bronze Total
Germany GER 3 1 0 4
Canada CAN 1 0 1 2
Republic of Korea KOR 0 1 0 1
United States USA 0 1 0 1
Latvia LAT 0 0 1 1