(Copyright 2002. The Tattoo. All rights reserved.)

Making a permanent impression since 1994

February 25, 2002

Skeleton racing

By Jacqui Moreau

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 Ė on their stomachs.

What is this? Itís called skeleton.

Itís like a winter version of the X Games.

Skeleton is one of the most dangerous and unique Olympic events in history. So why hasnít 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 hasnít died after over 100 years.

Skeleton made its Olympic debut in 1928, but it wasnít 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, itís expanded: itís not just for boys anymore.

The United States shocked the world as Americans Jim Shea of the menís team, and Tristan Gail of the womenís team each won gold medals in Skeleton.

In the sporting world, Skeleton is on the cutting edge Ö just like America.