Like bobsleigh, skeleton has its origins in 19th century Switzerland. The Cresta Run in St. Moritz is often considered the home of skeleton racing. It was on that track that skeleton made its first two Olympic appearances at the Winter Games in 1928 and 1948. It would be 54 years before skeleton returned to the Olympic program at Salt Lake City 2002.
It is not entirely clear as to where the name skeleton came from. One explanation is that in 1892 an Englishman surprised his friends with a new sled made mostly from metal that looked like skeleton. Another is that the name “Skele” derives from an incorrect Anglicization of the Norwegian word “Kjaelke”.
A strong start is critical to a successful skeleton run. Wearing spiked shoes for a better grip on the ice surface, skeleton athletes typically sprint alongside their sled for the first few seconds of a run, holding onto the sled with one hand before diving headfirst onto the sled. Positioned head-first and stomach-down, athletes will use slight shoulder, head or body movements to steer the sled. Skeleton events are timed to the hundredth of a second (0.01).