Although there were no Skeleton races in the Olympics consecutively, they began to have them every winter Olympics starting in 2002, according to olympics.org. The sport is a timed race that tests both the competitor’s agility and patience. During a run, racers grab sleds with two sharp blades on the bottom, similar to an ice skate, and put one of them in a groove on a 1,500 meter ice track. Racers then wait for the gun to fire and with one hand holding the sled, they sprint 50 meters down the track. Once the sprint is over, they hop onto the sled head-first on their stomachs and hold on.
As the sled goes down the first hill, they reach up to 80 mph. “I wouldn’t be able to hold onto the sled going that fast,” said Junior Arianna Krol . Racers lying on their stomachs screaming down a course head-first have few ways of steering considering there is nothing on the sled other than the racer. “They steer with force or movement,” said Krol. The racers guide the sled with the slightest movement of their head and body.
With the lack of steering and the speed that they are traveling down the ice track, there are many safety concerns in the sport of skeleton. “I feel like a lot of people would get concussions,” said Kierra Carlson. When the racers underestimate the corners, they tend to slam into the wall, and this can lead to concussions or other injuries. Teams like Canada are limiting their training to prevent injuries according to huffingtonpost.com.
Coming in February 2018 is the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. The United States is bringing a skeleton team that hopes to be successful. Kendall Wesenberg is the top racer for the women's team, and John Daly is the top racer for the men’s team. They both placed at the top of the men’s and women’s groups during the World Cup race. Both racers have yet to win an Olympic medal; however, Daly has been to the Olympics for Skeleton racing twice before, so he has plenty of experience.
Many countries that are competing in the 2018 winter games don’t have cold weather, which makes it hard to train for Skeleton. Athletes will typically train in other countries when they can, and work on agility when they don’t have an available course. “I wouldn’t to go outside and compete in the cold,” said Krol. Skeleton racers have to be ready for any winter weather conditions. The course can be harder to navigate when the weather conditions are bad. The racers are pushing sleds and sliding down on snow and ice and it can be very dangerous, according to Rachel Saslow, a writer for the Washington Post.
“It [Skeleton Racing] would be the only reason I would watch the Winter Olympics,” said Carlson. After learning about the sport, she is now more interested in seeing the results of the races in February.