Bobsleigh, or bobsled, was contested at the very first Olympic Winter Games in 1924 in Chamonix, France. The event is comprised of teams that race down an ice-covered incline on a sled. The sport was first developed in the 1880s, earning its name from the way crews bobbed back and forth to increase the sled’s speed.
The heavier, four-person bobsled can reach speeds of up to 100 miles per hour, and the two-person sled is only slightly slower. The incline has an average slope of between 8 and 15 percent, with anywhere from 15 to 20 turns per course. Multiple descents are made by each team, with the quickest total time determining the winner.
Bobsled started as a four-man event at the first Winter Olympics. The two-man event was introduced later at the 1932 Olympic Games. The women’s two-person bobsled event debuted at the 2002 Winter Olympics, where Jill Bakken and Vonetta Flowers of the United States won the gold medal. Vonetta Flowers was the first black athlete to win a gold medal at the Winter Olympic Games.