The Facts Of Skeleton
Imagine taking part in the Olympic luge, except this time you’re going down headfirst and using a sled that weighs twice as much. That’s the reality for athletes in the Skeleton competition, a racing event where riders hit speeds up to 80 miles per hour. The sport may be relatively un-celebrated in the United States, but Americans have taken home five medals in skeleton events since it was re-added to the Olympic program at the Salt Lake City games in 2002.
Skeleton stakes claim as one of the oldest winter racing sports, with organized competitions dating back to the 1880s in Switzerland. It takes place on the same course as luge and bobsled events, with the main difference being the sled size and head-first positioning.
Skeleton enjoyed steady popularity through the first half of the last century, but disappeared from the Olympic schedule after 1948. It was resurrected in 2002 for Salt Lake City and has been a fixture of the winter games ever seen. Fifty athletes from 21 nations will participant this year, including first-timers:
- The Netherlands
England is the powerhouse nation here – they’ve medaled in every Olympics with skeleton competitions. The United States has more overall skeleton medals, but have struggled since winning men’s and women’s gold in Salt Lake City. Matt Antoine, who won the bronze in Sochi, and his experienced American squad hope to change that pattern in PyeongChang.
Skeleton is one of the shortest events at the PyeongChang Olympics with only three days of events. Only 6 medals will be award between the men’s and women’s events, so competition is fierce. The events are also like the races themselves – quick and exhilarating.
Men’s Heat 1 and 2 – Feb. 14 8-10:25 p.m. ET (NBC)
Men’s Heat 3 and 4 – Feb. 15 7:30-10:10 p.m. ET (Medal presentation) (NBC)
Women’s Heat 1 and 2 – Feb. 16 6:20-8:10 a.m. ET (NBC)
Women’s Heat 3 and 4 – Feb. 17 6:20-8:40 a.m. ET (Medal presentation) (NBC)
Individual skeleton races take just under two minutes to complete. A pair of complete rounds (called runs) can be completed in about two and half hours. Canada and Germany lead the pack with six participating athletes, followed by Russia with five, and the United States and England with four each.
How to Watch
With the games on NBC, cord cutters will have no shortage of options. Games will be on the NBC family of networks (NBC, CNBC, NBC Sports) and NBCOlympics.com is dedicated to streaming live events.
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.