Friday, February 12, 2010

2010 Winter Olympics Preview - Bobsleigh

Bobsleigh Preview

You've seen Cool Runnings, right? If you haven't, you really need to get off your ass and do that before the Olympics start on Friday. Bobsleigh (or "Bobsled") is basically team sledding down a hill. With the team members packed into a large metal phallus, it's only slightly less homoerotic than 2-man luge. Stephen Colbert gave 4-man Bobsleigh a try:


Events
Four-man
Two-man
Womens

The Bobsleigh "run" begins with the team members pushing the sled to build up momentum then hopping on board and riding down hill. There are two important jobs on the sled: driver and break man. The driver sits in the front and steers the sled through the 16 turns on the course. The break man sits in the back and applies the breaks when needed. In Two-man and Women's, there are only two people in the sled, the driver and break person. In Four-man, there are two additional riders that are basically there to push at the beginning then to be as aerodynamic as possible.

For all of the events, each team makes four runs down the hill over two days. The team with the lowest aggregate time at the end of the fourth run wins.

Favorites

Traditionally, Germany and Switzerland are the powerhouse countries in the event. Germany has utterly dominated since the turn of the century, taking home all three gold medals in Turin and two of the three in Salt Lake City. The United States, who has won a gold, 2 silvers, and a bronze over the last two Olympics should be competitive as well. Don't be surprised if Canada uses their homeland advantage and lands at least one team on the medal stand.

US Hopefuls

The United States will enter three teams in each of the three events. The US has a lot of bobsleigh talent on their roster for these games and should be competitive in every division. In 2006, the US 4-man team finished 6th, less than 1 second behind Gold medal Germany. Since the margins for victory are so small and the US roster filled with experience and talent, there is always a good possibility for America to bring home the gold here.

Predictions

The Steelers n'at Pick: The German teams have struggled since their 2006 sweep in Turin, but still remain the favorites going in. We're going to be complete homers here and take the US to bring home at least 2 golds. Look for a good showing from Canada, particularly in the Women's event where they won Silver in Turin.

Three Rivers Burgh Blog Pick: If I could I would pick the US for everything. I will take Germany since they took the U.S.

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