Bobsled crews contain 2 to 4 people. They consist of a pilot, a brakeman and in a 4-person crew, two pushers. Sleds are made of light metals, steel runners and an aerodynamic body. In competition they must by a maximum of 3.8 meters long for a 4-person crew or 2.7 meters long for a 2-person crew. Maximum weight is 630 and 390, respectively. Runs must begin with a standing start, and are timed down to the hundredth of a second.
Bobsled (also known as bobsleigh) is a winter sport in which teams of two or four make timed runs down narrow, twisting, banked, iced tracks in a gravity-powered sled. A product of English daredevils and a Swiss entrepreneur, bobsled is the sport of racing a giant sled down a roller coaster of ice. Sleds built for either 2 or 4 people compete in fast-paced runs, decided by the smallest fractions of time. Despite its insanely dangerous nature, bobsled is one of the most popular winter sports in the world.
Though sledding on ice has been popular in cold-climate countries for hundreds of years, bobsledding itself is a relatively new sport. It began in the 1860's when Englishmen began attaching steering mechanisms to the front of sleds. The sport's popularity began to grow, when a hotel owner in St. Moritz, Switzerland advertised his city as an attractive sled-racing destination. Races were soon run on snow-covered streets, with the first formal competition held in 1884. Because of constant danger to pedestrians, the races were moved to a specially made, ice-covered track. In 1923, the Federation Internationale de Bobsleigh et de Tobogganing was founded to oversee all international competition. In 1924, four-crew bobsledding was featured in the inaugural Winter Olympic Games. In the early 1990's, women's bobsledding competitions began. Today, bobsledding is an extremely popular sport in North America and Europe, and is one of the most watched Winter Olympic events.