Much like its name suggests, skeleton is one of the scariest and most dangerous sports known to man. The winter sliding sport consists of a racer, covered head to toe in protective padding, lying face down and darting head-first down a frozen track.
Skeleton is the third-fastest sport held in the Winter Olympics, with maximum sled speeds reaching about 130 km/hr.
The niche sport takes place on the same windy, icy course as luge and bobsled, also two of the fastest sports at the Olympics. And though the track is technically built to get you down, there is always a chance of absolute destruction.
Men’s skeleton was introduced in the 1928 and 1948 Games in St. Moritz. However, luge and bobsledding grew in popularity in the coming years and skeleton took a halt. By 2002, the sport was reintroduced in Salt Lake City as a men’s and women’s event and has been a pivotal ice sport ever since.
Skeleton racers will be on the track in Beijing once again in February. Here is how you can watch all the curling action at the 2022 Olympics, along with streaming info and athletes to watch:
What is the schedule for skeleton at the 2022 Winter Olympics?
Skeleton will consist of two events: men’s singles and women’s singles. There will be four men’s heats and four women’s heats.
Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics
Watch all the action from the Beijing Olympics live on NBC
The events will take place from Feb. 9-12. Men’s heats 1 and 2 will be on Feb. 9. Women’s heats 1 and 2 will be on Feb. 10 and men’s heats 3 and 4 will be on Feb. 11. Women’s Heats 3 and 4 will be on Feb. 12.
Below is the full event and streaming information for each day of competition for skeleton.
- Men’s Heat 1: Wednesday, Feb. 9, 8:30 p.m. ET (Stream)
- Men’s Heat 2: Wednesday, Feb. 9, 8:30 p.m. ET (Stream)
- Women’s Heat 1: Thursday, Feb. 10, 8:30 p.m. ET (Stream)
- Women’s Heat 2: Thursday, Feb. 10, 8:30 p.m. ET (Stream)
- Men’s Heat 3: Friday, Feb. 11, 7:20 a.m. ET (Stream)
- Men’s Heat 4: Friday, Feb. 11, 7:20 a.m. ET (Stream)
- Women’s Heat 3: Saturday, Feb. 12, 7:20 a.m. ET (Stream)
- Women’s Heat 4: Saturday, Feb. 12, 7:20 a.m. ET (Stream)
All sliding events will be held at the Yanqing National Sliding Center, located in the Xiaohaituo mountain area in Yanqing, China.
What is skeleton?
Racers often compare the ultimate sledding experience to flying.
This adrenaline-pumping sport consists of racers laying head-first on a sled where their head is only one inch from ice. Sleds dart from 90 to 130 km/hr and racers will fly down the 1.6km course at the Yanqing National Sliding Center. The ominous track drops about 350 feet in the course of a one-minute run.
Athletes explode for 30m as they give themselves a running start before hopping on the sled to begin the “controlled chaos.” Once situated on the sled, racers steer via head, shoulders and knees. They counterbalance pressure the entire ride down. Speed is their friend and there are no brakes.
“It’s the closest thing to flying that you can imagine,” John Daly of Team USA Skeleton said.
The sport got its name because the sled is literally the skeletal foundation of a bobsled.
Fun fact: an official skeleton sled, one that qualifies for competition at least, can cost about $10,000 … and that is usually the minimum, according to American skeleton racer Bree Schaaf.
What are some details about this year’s track?
The track at the Yanqing National Sliding Center is 1,615 meters (1.6km), which is a little less than a mile. Its maximum gradient is 18% and there will be 16 curves. According to the International Olympic Committee, the sliding events’ track is the first in the world to have a 360-degree turn.
Who is competing in skeleton for Team USA at the 2022 Winter Olympics?
The current roster for Team USA Skeleton is as follows:
- Kelly Curtis
- Katie Uhlaender
- Andrew Blaser
This is the smallest skeleton team the U.S. has ever sent to the Olympics since skeleton was introduced in 2002.
Who will be the best at skeleton at the 2022 Winter Olympics?
Since skeleton’s debut as a women’s event in the 2002 Salt Lake City Games, Elizabeth Yarnold of Great Britain has proven most successful, receiving two gold medals; the first at Sochi 2014 and the second at PyeongChang 2018. Expect big things from her in the women's singles event in Beijing 2022.
In terms of men’s singles, the six-time world champion and double Olympic silver medalist from Latvia, Martins Dukurs, is definitely one to watch out for. He is famously known as “Superman” by his fellow racers and holds the most World Cup titles in skeleton history. Despite placing fourth at the 2018 PyeongChang Games and 16th at the 2021 World Championships, this skeleton veteran is still a name to watch.
Based on the numbers, South Korea houses the reigning gold medal champion, Yun Sung-Bin. He finished in 17th at the 2021 World Championships, right behind Dukurs, but won the gold in men’s singles in PyeongChang.
Other racers to gauge are China’s Wenqiang Geng and Yin Zheng. The country has yet to receive a medal in the sport, however, China has had extra time to practice on the track used for the events coming up in February. Will that give them a shiny advantage?
Who won gold in skeleton at the 2018 Winter Olympics?
Sung-Bin of South Korea received the gold for the men’s heat in PyeongChang in 2018. Nikita Tregubov of the Olympic Athletes from Russia won silver and Dominic Parsons of Great Britain won bronze.
For women, Great Britain’s Elizabeth Yarnold received the gold, Germany’s Jacqueline Lolling the silver and Great Britain’s Laura Deas the bronze.
What country has the most medals in skeleton?
Great Britain reigns as the highest-medaling country for skeleton at the Winter Olympics. The nation has received nine medals since the sport was introduced in 1928 in the St. Moritz Games, with the most medals, three, being awarded at the 2018 PyeongChang games.
Great Britain has won a medal every single time the country has participated in the Games, which includes winning at least one medal in each women’s contest since skeleton was universalized as a men’s and women’s event in 2002.
Although Great Britain holds the highest medal count, the U.S. is another top team to watch out for. Team USA holds eight medals total: three gold, four silver and one bronze, while Great Britain holds nine medals: three gold, one silver and five bronze.