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Skeleton 101

Skeleton is one of the world’s oldest and most unique winter Olympic sports in which competitors aim to drive a one-person sled in a prone, head-first position down an ice track in the fastest time. The athlete begins the race by sprinting alongside the sled, and dives onto it to race down the track at blistering speeds reaching up to 130 km/h. Skeleton takes it name from when someone commented that a new metal sled, first used in 1892, resembled a skeleton. The sport’s first organized competition took place in the late 1800’s in the Swiss village of St. Moritz, which continues to be one of the most challenging tracks in the world. Riders raced down the frozen road from St. Moritz to Celerina on simple sleds, and the winner received a bottle of champagne. Today, the stakes are much higher as the world’s best battle for Olympic gold.It was at the 1928 Olympic Winter Games in St. Moritz that skeleton made its brief Olympic debut. But the sport would not reappear until the 1948 Games which were also held in St. Moritz. Then—just as suddenly—skeleton went back in the closet again until its 2002 reemergence. The format for skeleton on the World Cup involves two timed runs.

The top men and women from the first run compete in the second run, which is held later that same day. The combined time of the two runs determines the final standings.

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