Katie Uhlaender competes in Women's Skeleton during the IBSF World Championships 2021 on February 11, 2021 in Altenberg, Germany.

Skeleton returned to the Olympic program in 2002, 54 years after its last appearance and 74 after its first. The only reason skeleton made its first two appearances was that both those of those Winter Games were held in St. Moritz, Switzerland, where the thrilling face-first sliding sport was invented back in the 1890s. Skeleton developed there initially as a sport called cresta, from which St. Moritz’s famous natural ice track known as the Cresta Run took its name.

Following those 1948 Winter Games in St. Moritz, skeleton dropped off the program, seemingly for good. But the sport experienced a resurgence in popularity around the world in the late 20th century. Skeleton joined the international governing body for bobsled in 1999 and was formally added back onto the Olympic program, where it has remained ever since.

Team USA won the first gold medal in the sport back in 1928 and won two others across those early Games. Americans then burst out of the gate in the sport’s return in Salt Lake City, winning three of the six medals and both golds. Team USA has only visited the podium in one Games since, winning two medals in 2014, but remains second with eight total medals behind Great Britain’s nine. The two countries are tied for the lead with three gold medals each.

Skeleton medals are awarded for both men’s and women’s singles. The 2022 Games will see the most women ever competing as 12 men’s spots were moved to the women’s side to make an equal 25 athletes in each event. Athletes get four runs over two days to record the lowest total time.

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

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

All three of Great Britain’s gold medals in skeleton have come on the women’s side, and they’ve all come in the last three Olympic Winter Games. One thing is for sure, there will be a new champion. Two-time defending gold medalist Lizzy Yarnold has retired since PyeongChang.

There’s a different sort of winning streak on the men’s side. The last three gold medalists have all come from the host country. China might have some work to do to keep that up. It has only ever entered one skeleton athlete in its history, but having experience on the Olympic track could prove to be a big advantage.

And speaking of the Olympic track, Yanqing National Sliding Centre boasts something never seen before in the world, a 360-degree turn. The track has 16 turns in all and is just over one mile in length.

Andrew Blaser (Meridian, Idaho): The 32-year-old was originally a track athlete, competing in the heptathlon and decathlon in high school and at the University of Idaho. When a pro track career did not appear in the cards, Blaser joked that he would try bobsled, a sport that is brimming with former track athletes. It turned out bobsled wasn’t a fit, but coaches he contacted encouraged him to try skeleton. Within a few years he was competing on the North American Cup circuit, and in 2019 he made his world cup debut.

Kelly Curtis (Princeton, New Jersey): It was a photo finish for Curtis to make the Olympic team as she passed U.S. teammate Megan Henry in the overall rankings at a world cup in St. Moritz, Switzerland, on Jan. 14 to snag Team USA’s second women’s spot at the Games. The 32-year-old is in her first season on the world cup circuit and is a member of the World Class Athlete Program as part of the U.S. Air Force. 

Katie Uhlaender (Breckenridge, Colorado): Uhlaender is one of the most experienced skeleton athletes in the U.S., a veteran of four Olympic Games and owner of six world championship medals, including two gold. Uhlaender has also competed in weightlifting, including at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, and in track cycling. The 37-year-old is a lover of speed in any form, which is what led her to try skeleton.

Read more about the U.S. Olympic skeleton team in this teamusa.org article. 

Feb. 10 – Men’s heats 1 and 2
Feb. 11 – Women’s heats 1 and 2, men’s heats 3 and 4
Feb. 12 – Women’s heats 3 and 4