BURLINGTON, Connecticut, U.S.A. — The eight-spiked shoes, mandatory helmet, face shield, and chin guards indicate the danger of the sport. The athletes travel as much as 80 miles per hour on a metal sled down a mile-long track – on their stomachs.
What is this? It’s called skeleton.
It’s like a winter version of the X Games.
Skeleton is one of the most dangerous and unique Olympic events in history. So why hasn’t anyone ever heard of it before?
Skeleton was founded in a Swiss town called St. Moritz in the late 1800s.
The metal frame of the sled apparently reminded the townspeople of a skeleton. Their nickname hasn’t died after over 100 years.
Skeleton made its Olympic debut in 1928, but it wasn’t seen again at the games until 1948.
The sport again lay dormant, this time for over 50 years, but is alive again in Salt Lake 2002. In fact, it’s expanded: it’s not just for boys anymore.
The United States shocked the world as Americans Jim Shea of the men’s team, and Tristan Gail of the women’s team each won gold medals in Skeleton.
In the sporting world, Skeleton is on the cutting edge … just like America.
Jacqui Moreau is a Reporter for Youth Journalism International.