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Olympic rules for skeleton state that skeleton competition must use the same track as bobsleigh and luge. A run begins with a running "push" phase (typically 25 to 40 metres). After pushing, the athlete dives onto the sled and descends the track. Athletes must lie prone, facing downhill, with arms at their sides. Only the force produced by the athlete and the force of gravity are permitted to propel the skeleton. The skeleton must be steered by movements of the athlete's body
Skeleton is an individual sport where competitors slide head-first down an ice ramp on a simple sled. The competitor that reaches the bottom of the ramp in the quickest amount of time is the winner. Skeleton is one of the oldest competitive winter sports and is a sport in which participants ride a one-person sled in a prone, head-first position down an ice track. It differs from luge in riding position; in the luge the rider drives the sled from a supine, feet-first position. Skeleton riders have been clocked at speeds of 80 mph. This Olympic sport is known in some parts of the world as tobogganing. It takes its name from the stripped-down sled, which originally was a bare frame, like a skeleton.
The sport of skeleton can be traced back to the late 19th century. English soldiers in Switzerland constructed a toboggan track between the cities of Davos and Klosters in 1882. While toboggan tracks certainly were not uncommon at the time, the added challenge of curves and bends in the Swiss track distinguished it from those of Canada and the United States. As the popularity of the sport grew in Europe, skeleton evolved into the sport recognized today. In 1892, the sled was transformed by L.P. Child, an Englishman. The newly designed bare-bones sled resembled a human skeleton, and the sport adopted its modern name of skeleton, though it is still recognized as tobogganing in many countries. In 1923, the Federation Internationale de Bobsleigh et de Tobogganing (FIBT) was established as the governing body of the sport. Soon afterward (1926), the International Olympic Committee declared bobsleigh and skeleton as Olympic sports and adopted the rules of the St. Mortiz run as the officially recognized Olympic rules. It was not until 2002, however, that skeleton itself was added permanently to the Olympic program with the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City, Utah.