The Best Bobsledders In The History Of The Sport

Bobsledding or bobsleighing is a famous sport, during the Winter Olympics, featuring icy chutes speeding at roughly 100 miles an hour. The history of the sport can be traced back to 1870 in Switzerland, where men raced down rough slopes. In the past, bobsledding was considered to be a recreational sport for the wealthy. But in 1932, it was added to the Olympic event list.

Then, in the 1950s, new rules were introduced to govern the maximum weight of a bobsled and its passengers. Since then, the athletes are required to be strong yet light enough to fit the required weight. Countries from all over the world have expressed interest in competing, even those in the tropical areas.

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Get to know the best bobsledders in the history of the sport who made a name for themselves. These athletes are not only known for their incredible strength but also their control in manning the chutes.

Bobsledders

How Bobsledding Works

Before we name the best athletes in the sport, it is important to understand how bobsledding works. First, there are requirements that need to be met by each participating team. For the four-man sleds, the maximum length needs to be 12 feet and 6 inches long. The weight requirement shouldn’t cross 1,390 pounds for the four-man sleds and 860 pounds for the two-man sleds.

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For the clothing, bobsledders must wear tight uniforms made from Lycra material. Protective gear, like helmets and practice run shoes with spikes not thicker than 1 mm, are also needed. Drivers also need to wear goggles but gloves are optional.

To indicate the start of the race, athletes need to push the sled to maximum velocity. Electric timing equipment measures the speed of each team, indicating a winner. Overall, the race consists of four descents that sleds need to pass through at maximum speed.

Best Bobsledders In History

The United States dominated the sport in the first half of the 20th century. However, the title was transferred to Germany and Switzerland during international competitions. The best bobsledders mostly came from these countries.

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Kevin Kuske

One of the best athletes in the sport is 41-year old Kevin Kuske. He is a former German bobsledder who won four gold medals and two silver medals in the Winter Olympic Games. Kuske’s first gold medal was from the four-man event in the Winter Olympics of 2002, together with his teammates Andre Lange, Casten Embach, and Enrico Kuhn.

Kuske also has fifteen other medals from IBSF World Championships. He announced his retirement during the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Francesco Friedrich

Another German bobsledder who gained popularity in the sport is Francesco Friedrich. He has been active since 2006, acquiring gold medals from four-man and two-man bobs events. Friedrich also won several medals in the IBSF World Championships, starting in 2011. At 29, the athlete still continues his career in the sport.

Willian Fiske

The history of bobsledding is undeniably impressive, with athletes like William Fiske, who won two gold medals from the Winter Olympics 1924 and 1932. At the time when Fiske was representing the United States for the sport, he was also serving in the Royal Air Force. Unfortunately, Fiske was one of the first American pilots killed during World War II.

Anja Schneiderheinze-Stockel

When the women’s event happened in 1983, a lot of athletes competed in the Olympics. One of the most recognized woman bobsledders is Anja Schneiderheinze-Stockel. She was able to score a gold medal in a two-woman event in the 2006 Winter Olympics with teammate Sandra Kiriasis. Aside from this achievement, Stockel also won a gold medal at the FIBT World Championships and a silver medal during the 2004 event.

Kaillie Humphries

The most successful woman in the history of bobsledding is Kaillie Humphries—a two-time overall World Champion, representing Canada. She earned a gold medal in the two-woman event at the 2010 Winter Olympics and another gold for Canada in 2014 for the same event.

Because of her repeated championships, Humphries was named flagbearer at the closing ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games.

The Bottom Line

Bobsled is a team winter sport that is loved by many people globally. The athletes are required to be in great shape and need immense strength to push and control the sled. This list of the best bobsledders in the history of the sport indicates that anyone can become world champions given the right training and discipline.