How Bobsled Works
You might know bobsled, or bobsleigh, from watching it as part of the Winter Olympics.
Or you might know it from the big screen.
Either way, bobsled has become one of the most recognizable events at the Games. Teams of two or four competitors race a gravity-powered sled down icy banked tracks. The competitors participate in a series of four heats, with their combined times utilized to determine a winner.
It’s always thrilling to watch the sleds hurtle down the embankments at speeds of up to 90 miles per hour. But this year’s competition has a few interesting wrinkles, including the potential for a second installment of Cool Runnings.
The movie is loosely based on the 1988 Jamaican bobsled team’s appearance in the Games—the first athletes from Jamaica to compete in the Winter Olympics. This year, Jamaica’s women’s bobsled team qualified for the event for the first time, and Nigeria became the first African nation to have a bobsled qualify for the Games.
And you can’t help but root for them.
Aside from that storyline, bobsled also requires an incredible amount of coordination and teamwork and frighteningly high speeds. One small hiccup, even when pushing the sled off the starting block, and a run can be ruined. It may not look like it, but it’s an action-packed event. The whizzing speeds of the sleds, along with the unique storylines, make bobsled a competition to keep an eye on at the Games.
- Two-man runs 1 and 2— Feb. 18, 6:05 a.m. EST
- Two-man runs 3 and 4— Feb. 19, 6:15 a.m. EST
- Two-woman runs 1 and 2— Feb. 20, 6:50 a.m. EST
- Two-woman runs 3 and 4— Feb. 21, 6:40 a.m. EST
- Four-man runs 1 and 2— Feb. 23, 7:30 p.m. EST
- Four-man runs 3 and 4— Feb. 24, 7:30 p.m. EST
How to Watch
Obviously, the two-person runs do not comply with the average American’s television viewing schedule. However, you’ll be able to live stream more than 1,800 hours of Olympic coverage online, including biathlon competitions. Official TV listings have yet to be released, but because of the popularity and watch-ability of bobsled due to its fast pace, you can be almost certain the four-man sleds will feature in NBC’s prime-time coverage of the Games.
For Cord-Cutters, here’s a list of services that allow you to stream the Olympics. The 2018 Olympic Games are on NBC. Here are the streaming services that carry NBC:
For more details about these services and details about the Olympic Games, visit our main 2018 Winter Olympics page.