Bobsleigh

Facts

Discipline of Bobsleigh
Participants 1796
NOCs 57
Competitions held 47 (Venues)
Distinct events 9
IF International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation

Description

Bobsledding as a sport originated in Switzerland in 1888 when an Englishman, Wilson Smith, connected two sleighs with a board to travel from St. Moritz to Celerina. Bobsledding was first practiced on the Cresta Run at St. Moritz but the run was not suitable for the faster bobsleds so a separate bob run was constructed there in 1904, the world’s first.

Bobsledding was on the program of the first Olympic Winter Games in 1924 with a single four-man event. In both 1924 and 1928, the event was one for sleds with either four or five men. In 1932, the present men’s program of two events began, one for two-man sleds, and one for four-man sleds. In 2002 at Salt Lake City, women competed in Olympic bobsledding for the first time, in a two-women event. The bobsledding federation currently also governs the sliding sport of skeleton. Skeleton appeared on the Olympic Program at the Cresta Run in St. Moritz in both 1928 and 1948, and was placed back on the Olympic Program, beginning in 2002 at Salt Lake City.

Bobsledding has been contested at all Olympic Winter Games except in 1960 at Squaw Valley. Because of the distance to travel to California, only nine countries indicated that they would enter bobsled teams. The Squaw Valley organizers thus decided not to build a bob run and the sport was not held that year.

Bobsledding has been dominated by the Swiss, the Italians, and, until 1992, the German Democratic Republic (GDR – East Germany). The sport is governed by the International Bobsleigh & Skeleton Federation (IBSF), which was founded as Fédération internationale de bobsleigh et de tobogganing (FIBT) on 23 November 1923 in Paris and renamed in 2015. As of 2018 IBSF has 70 members.

Switzerland leads the bobsled medal list with 30 medals (and 9 gold), but Germany has 21 medals and 10 golds. Including East and West Germany, Germany overall has won 40 medals and 16 gold medals. Two German bobsledders, Kevin Kuske and André Lange, have won four gold medals, while Bogdan Musiol, who competed for Germany and East Germany, has won the most medals, with seven.

All-time medal table

NOC Gold Silver Bronze Total
Germany GER 13 6 6 25
Switzerland SUI 10 10 11 31
United States USA 7 10 8 25
East Germany GDR 5 5 3 13
Canada CAN 5 2 2 9
Italy ITA 4 4 4 12
West Germany FRG 1 3 2 6
Austria AUT 1 2 0 3
Great Britain GBR 1 1 3 5
Latvia LAT 1 0 2 3
Soviet Union URS 1 0 2 3
Belgium BEL 0 1 1 2
Russian Federation RUS 0 1 1 2
Republic of Korea KOR 0 1 0 1
France FRA 0 0 1 1
Romania ROU 0 0 1 1

Most successful competitors

Athlete Nat Gold Silver Bronze Total
Kevin Kuske GER 4 2 0 6
André Lange GER 4 1 0 5
Bernhard Germeshausen GDR 3 1 0 4
Meinhard Nehmer GDR 3 0 1 4
Wolfgang Hoppe GDR
GER
2 3 1 6
Eugenio Monti ITA 2 2 2 6
Donat Acklin SUI 2 1 1 4
Gustav Weder SUI 2 1 1 4
Markus Zimmermann GER 2 1 1 4
Dietmar Schauerhammer GDR 2 1 0 3

Event types

Name Gender Still contested? Times held?
Two Men 20
Two Women 5
Four Open 1
Two Boys 1
Monobob Boys 2
Two Girls 1
Monobob Girls 2
Four Men 19
Four/Five Men 2