Sport was invented in the 1880s in Albany (New York) and then introduced to Switzerland. The first races were held on snow-covered roads and the first competitions took place in Davos in 1883 and St. Moritz in 1884. The first club was formed in 1897 and the first runway specifically built for bobsleigh was opened in 1902. Initially the crews were 5 or 6 people, then they were reduced to 2 or 4 in the 1930s. The bobsleighs were completely made of wood and then the steel skids were introduced.
The Fédération Internationale de Bobsleigh et de Lugeing (FIBT), currently known as the International Bobsleigh & Skeleton Federation (IBSF), was founded in 1923 and sport has been part of the Winter Olympic Games programme since its first edition in 1924. Initially only the bobsleigh competition was played at 4. The bobsleigh 2 was added in 1932, while women's competitions made their Olympic debut in 2002. Germany is the nation that has achieved the most successes in bobsleigh, including the European and World Championships, the World Cup and the Olympics.
At the end of the race, when the bobsleigh has reached maximum speed, the athletes literally jump on the bobsleigh with perfectly coordinated movements and each one glides along the backrest and ends in a sitting position. The rider takes up his position with his hands on the steering handle.
The speed in the thrust phase is around 40 km/h; the maximum speed in a descent is about 135 km/h in some curves the crew is subjected to lateral accelerations equal to five times the acceleration of gravity (5g).
The athletes' clothing is similar to that of the other disciplines previously mentioned. It basically consists of an aerodynamic helmet and an aerodynamic suit made of uncoated technical material. Shoes must have small cleats that are used to grip on the ice during the pushing phase; their maximum diameter must be 1.5 mm and must not be longer than 5 mm.