Bobsledding is a relatively modern sport. Well, modern in the sense that it did not evolve just post-dinosaur! The first formal bobsled competition was held in 1884. But how did it all begin?
We have a few jolly British lads to thank for that! English tourists decided to stay at a mineral spa in the town of St. Moritz during winter after the hotelier ‘sold’ the idea to them to avoid another long season of empty rooms.
The more adventurous of his English guests became rather bored and adapted boys’ delivery sleds for fun. They attached two sleds together with a board and attached a steering mechanism to the front sled. They proceeded to speed down the village’s roads, lanes and alleys, frequently colliding with unsuspecting and, I am sure, very surprised pedestrians.
It took a couple of years of pedestrian peril before the hotelier built a special track where they could safely (at least from the pedestrian point of view) practice their fun. This first natural ice half-pipe track was built in 1870 and it is still in operation! The name of the sport appeared when competitors adopted the technique of bobbing back and forth inside the sled to increase its speed.