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Maggie Hendricks

Average fan's guide to skeleton

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Since most sports fans only check in on Olympic sports every four years, Fourth-Place Medal is here to help. Here are the basics of skeleton, a sport that is conservatively called the craziest sport in the history of sport.

What is this sport about? It's about hurtling your body down a bobsled track on a tiny sled, headfirst, as quickly as possible.

Seriously? Yes, seriously. The sliders -- as they are called -- can experience up to 5Gs of force on a run, which is roughly equivalent to a Formula One car moving fully breaking under maximum speeds. Unlike Formula One cars, their sleds have no brakes or steering.

Then how do they keep from flying off the surface of the bobsled track, or, say, the Earth? Their bodies. They control the movement of the sled by making slight changes in body positions. See why this is an Olympic sport?

Yes. So, who is going to win? As in many Olympic sports, the Canadians dominate. Canadians are expected to win gold in both men's and women's skeleton, with Jon Montgomery and Melissa Hollingsworth leading the way. Great Britain is pinning their medal hopes on Shelley Rudman, who won a silver in Turin, and Germany expects to be in the running as well.

When do I tune in to watch this craziness? Both men's and women's skeleton competitions, including the medal heats, are on February 19.

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