Olympic Sports >> Skeleton


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Slide down a steep, winding ice run, head first and face down on a tiny sledge with no brakes as fast as possible.

2 Events

1 for men, 1 for women: New ruling - 4 runs over 2 days instead of 2 runs over 1 day which was previous format.


Whistler Sliding Centre

Competition dates

Feb. 18 and 19

Men and women

Both the men's and women's competitions are disputed over two heats on a single day. The starting order for the first heat is decided in accordance with the world rankings. The number one races first. The top 20 men and the top 12 women go forward to the second heat. In the second heat, the starting order is determined by the times of the first heat, with the slowest competitor going first and the fastest contestant last. In the third heat, racers begin in accordance with the standings and finally in the 4th run, the competitors race in reverse order in correspondance with the rankings (20th first, 19th second etc.). The fastest overall time over the four heats is declared the winner.

Important Dates

  • 16th century : First printed evidence in a German book that the sport of luge was being practised.
  • 19th century : Swiss hoteliers organise races on snow-covered roads to entertain their guests.
  • 1883 : First international competition at Davos
  • 1887 : An Englishman called McCormick is the first person to go down the run head first.
  • 1892 : Another Englishman, M. Child, builds a sledge, essentially from metal, that looks roughly like a skeleton.
  • 1928 : The skeleton makes its first appearance at the Olympics in St Moritz.
  • 1948 : After being dropped, skeleton is left in the cold by the Olympic movement until 1948, when the Games return to St Moritz.
  • 1982 : First world championships take place at St Moritz.
  • 1986-87 : First World Cup circuit is created.
  • 2002 : Back in the Olympic fold after a break of 54 years with a women's event added to the programme.


Nino Bibbia (ITA) : The King of the skeleton, Bibbia used his knowledge of St Moritz, where he lived, to race to Olympic gold in 1948 on the famous Cresta Run track in the Swiss resort. He went on an astonishing streak during which he was undefeated for 230 races until 1975 when he was beaten by his son Gianni.

Copyright 2008 Agence France-Presse.