BEIJING, China — During bobsled events at the Winter Olympics, a pilot is in charge of controlling the sled while it shoots down an ice track at speeds of more than 90 miles per hour.
But how do the sliders control the sled?
The pilot actually steers by pulling on a rope.
A sled consists of a main hull, a frame, four runners and two axles. It is also built with a steering mechanism and a brake.
The steering mechanism consists of two pieces of rope that are attached to a steering bolt and turn the front frame of the bobsled. A driver can pull on the rope with his or her right hand to steer the sled to the right, and with the left hand to steer to the left.
The main hull, which is also known as a cowling, is constructed of fiberglass. It is closed in the front and opens in the back to allow bobsledders to enter the sled.
The frame is made of steel. The construction of the frame was standardized in 1984 by the sport’s international federation.
There are two sets of two runners, which are the solid pieces of steel on which the sled rides. They are not allowed to be heated nor receive any substance that would improve sliding.
There are also two axles: one connects the two front runners, and the other connects the two rear runners.
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