Images show just how much the Olympic bobsled event has changed over the years

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YouTube/Olympic

Among the most intense sports at the Winter Olympics are the bobsled events, or officially, “bobsleigh.”

The bobsled events that most of us are familiar with involve what look like miniature rockets propelling down a man-made track at extreme velocities, often under the cover of a roof to protect the track from the elements.

But things were much different nearly 100 years ago when the sport was part of the first Winter Olympics in 1924, held in Chamonix, France.

Below is a look at just how much the sport has evolved through the years, with a lot of help from the IOC who collected video from many of the Olympiads. You can see that video here.


1924 — Chamonix, France

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YouTube/Olympic

Gold medalists:

Men’s Four/Five: Switzerland-1


The track in 1924 looked like somebody dug a track in their backyard

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YouTube/Olympic

1932 — Lake Placid, USA

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YouTube/Olympic

Gold medalists:

Men’s Two: United States-1 Men’s Four: United States-1


It looks like the racers were wearing leather football helmets with some primitive facemasks. Also note the steering wheel.

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YouTube/Olympic

1936 — Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany

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YouTube/Olympic

Gold medalists:

Men’s Two: United States-1 Men’s Four: Switzerland-2


The track was still cut into the hillside, but it looked like it was starting to be built for serious speed.

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YouTube/Olympic

1948 — Sankt Moritz, Switzerland

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YouTube/Olympic

Gold medalists:

Men’s Two: Switzerland-2 Men’s Four: United States-2


While some teams started to incorporate more aerodynamics into the sleds, some were still using standard steering wheels.

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YouTube/Olympic

1952 — Oslo, Norway

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YouTube/Olympic

Gold medalists:

Men’s Two: Germany-1 Men’s Four: Germany


Some of the sleds started to look like race cars.

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YouTube/Olympic

1956 — Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy

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YouTube/Olympic

Gold medalists:

Men’s Two: Italy-1 Men’s Four: Switzerland-1


And still just cutting tracks into the hillside.

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YouTube/Olympic

1964 — Innsbruck, Austria

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YouTube/Olympic

Gold medalists:

Men’s Two: Great Britain-1 Men’s Four: Canada-1


1972 — Sapporo, Japan

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YouTube/Olympic

Gold medalists:

Men’s Two: West Germany-2 Men’s Four: Switzerland-1


Check out those helmets

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YouTube/Olympic

1988 — Calgary, Canada

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Getty Images

Gold medalists:

Men’s Two: Soviet Union-1 Men’s Four: Switzerland-1


1998 — Nagano, Japan

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YouTube/Olympic

Gold medalists:

Men’s Two: Italy-1; Canada-1 Men’s Four: Germany-2


2006 —Torino, Italy

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Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Gold medalists:

Men’s Two: Germany-1 Men’s Four: Germany-1 Women’s Two: Germany-1


2018 —Pyeongchang, South Korea

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Lars Baron/Getty Images


Now check out the best photos from the Olympics so far.

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Cameron Spencer/Getty

The 34 best photos of the Winter Olympics so far