Skeleton

Learn about this Winter Olympic sport

Jan 10, 2014 | By TIME For Kids Staff
ALEX LIVESEY_GETTY IMAGES

 

Skeleton, a sliding sport in the Winter Olympic Games, is named for the fiberglass and metal sleds racers use because the sleds resemble a human skeleton. An individual racer rides the sled down a steep, frozen track while lying face down. Skeleton became a permanent Olympic sport for men and women at the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The Rules of the Game

Skeleton begins with the racers running as fast as possible for about 164 feet (50 meters). The racer holds tight to the sled's handles. Racers must have powerful legs to gain a strong start on the track. Then, the competitors dive head first onto the sled and lie down on their stomachs. They steer by shifting their bodies slightly, using spiked shoes to grip the ice.

Both the men's and women's events consist of four races over two days. In each event, the racer with the fastest combined time, to the one-hundredth of a second, wins.