Hunter Church, Joshua Williamson, Carlo Valdes and Charles Volker compete in the 4-man Bobsled during Day Three of the BMW IBSF World Cup Bob & Skeleton 2021/22 on Dec. 12, 2021 in Winterberg, Germany.

There’s nothing quite like driving a 1,400-pound sled down an icy track at 90 mph. Bobsled (also called bobsleigh) developed in the 1880s in Switzerland and has been an Olympic sport since the first Winter Games in 1924. The lone exception was in 1960, when organizers elected not to build a track.

Much has changed over that last century, in particular the sleds. Today’s bobsleds are a feat of engineering — sleek projectiles, built on steel frames with fiberglass or carbon fiber bodies, that can fly down the track so fast they’re said to produce similar g-forces as riding in a fighter jet.

Another change is the gradual inclusion of women. Four-man bobsled has been around from the start, with a two-man event joining the program in 1932. But it wasn’t until 2002 that the two-woman bobsled event was included at the Winter Games. A second women’s event, the single-person monobob, will make its Olympic debut in Beijing.

Germany and Switzerland are the sport’s traditional powers, but Team USA is coming on fast, especially with the success of its women in recent years. The U.S. has 25 total medals, tying Germany for second all-time. Switzerland leads all countries with 31 medals, but Germany tops the list with 13 gold medals, just ahead of Switzerland’s 10 and Team USA’s seven.

An American woman has medaled in all five Olympics with a women’s event; Team USA leads all countries with six women’s medals. Elana Meyers Taylor has played a role in winning three of those medals, from 2010 to 2018. Kaillie Humphries matches that medal total, though she did so as a member of Team Canada prior to switching to Team USA. Both are expected to be medal contenders in the two-woman and monobob events in Beijing. The U.S. men last medaled in 2014 and will face steep competition from the likes of the Germans, Austrians and Latvians, among others.

Bobsled and the other sliding sports, luge and skeleton, will be contested at the Yanqing National Sliding Centre, which is part of the Yanqing cluster of venues located in the mountains 45 miles northwest of Beijing. The track is notable for being the first in the world to include a 360-degree turn.

Updated on January 28, 2022. For more information, contact the sport press officer here.

Kaillie Humphries established herself as the world’s premier bobsled pilot while winning two Olympic gold medals and two world titles for Canada. Since marrying a former American bobsledder and switching to Team USA in 2019, she’s continued to show that she’s top class. Humphries added additional world titles in 2020 and 2021, and she should be a gold-medal contender in both the two-woman and women’s monobob events in Beijing. However, one of her main challengers in both events could be teammate Elana Meyers Taylor, who has medaled in each of her three previous Olympics as well.

In an effort to improve gender equity across the Olympics, the International Olympic Committee approved a new women’s monobob event for the Beijing Games. The monobob is a one-person sled, so it’s all on the pilot. Although the Olympic program still isn’t mirrored — men have a four-person event in place of monobob — the change ensures that men and women have equal medal opportunities in the sport.

The U.S. men’s program experienced a resurgence under pilot Steven Holcomb, who won three Olympic medals and reached the world championships podium six times between 2010 and 2014. Team USA men haven’t reached the podium at either event since.

Hunter Church (Cadyville, New York): The 25-year-old is heating up at the right time. In January, Church recorded his second career world cup podium when he finished third in a four-man race in Winterberg, Germany. Church is the top-ranked American at No. 9 in the four-man standings and comes in 17th in the two-man. Fellow U.S. pilot Codie Bascue (Whitehall, New York), 27, is ranked 15th in two-man and 20th in four-man. Bascue made his Olympic debut in 2018 and was among the top-10 in four-man.

Kaillie Humphries (Carlsbad, California): Humphries established herself as the class of the sport while competing for Canada. Over three Olympics, she won gold medals in 2010 and 2014 before taking home bronze in 2018. She began representing the U.S. shortly after and has already claimed three world titles for the red, white and blue — two in two-woman, one in monobob. Humphries, 36, officially received her U.S. citizenship in December 2021, clearing the way for her to compete for Team USA in Beijing. She hasn’t slowed down, having already recorded three wins and multiple podium finishes between the two-woman and monobob series this season.

Elana Meyers Taylor (Douglasville, Georgia): Meyers Taylor has been a mainstay on the U.S. team for more than a decade, and she has plenty to show for it. She won her first Olympic medal in 2010 as a push athlete, taking bronze. Upon moving to the pilot’s seat, she won silver medals in the next two Winter Games. She’s also won six medals, including two golds, at the world championships over the years. Now 37, Meyers Taylor is back on the track after taking maternity leave in 2020 following the birth of her son Nico, and she’s not messing around. The former pro softball player has four monobob wins in seven races this season and recorded her first two-woman win of the year on Jan. 2. By mid-January she ranked No. 1 in the world in both events.

Meet the full U.S. bobsled team in this article.

Feb. 13-14 – Women’s monobob
Feb. 14-15 – Two-man bobsled
Feb. 18-19 – Two-woman bobsled
Feb. 19-20 – Four-man bobsled