The sport of skeleton originates from athletes that descended down the mountains in a toboggan — a wooden sleigh without runners common among Canadian Indians. Luge’s emergence is referenced in literature from the 16th century. Information about luge as a sport dates back to the mid-19th century, when British tourists in the Swiss Alps started going down the snow-covered slopes on a sled.
Skeleton has twice been included in the Olympic Winter Games in the country where it originated, at the Games in St. Moritz in 1928 and 1948. However, skeleton was not adopted as an Olympic discipline until the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Winter Games, with athletes going for Skeleton gold again in Sochi in 2014.
Skeleton in Russia
Russian athletes took part in a skeleton competition for the first time at the 1994 World Cup stages in Innsbruck and St. Moritz, followed by World Championships in Altenberg. In 2002, women’s team favorite Ekaterina Mironova took seventh place at the Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City and won a silver medal at the skeleton World Championships in 2003 in a new course record. At the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, Russian skeleton athlete Alexander Tretyakov won the country’s first medal in the discipline with a bronze medal.
Skeleton involves a descent on a special track with artificially frozen ice in a sled. The Olympic skeleton competition lasts for two days. Each athlete completes a total of four runs. Medals are awarded based on total time over the four runs, with the winner having the lowest overall time. If two athletes complete the competition in a tie, they are awarded the same place. In the Olympic Winter Games program there are singles’ competitions for men and women. There are only two sets of medals to be won in skeleton.
- A sled with steel runners and a weighted frame without steering, in which the athlete lays face down and head first in direction, controlling the sled using special spikes on their shoes.
- Gloves for athletes are made of leather and protect against damage.
- All athletes wear special durable helmets that protect the head from injury.
- A track suit made of elastic fabric to tightly encircle the body.
- Shoes are made of synthetic material and have spikes on the soles.