The sole bobsleigh discipline heading to Lausanne 2020

Monobob aims to create a level playing field and is returning to the Youth Olympics Games in Lausanne this January.

Picture by IOC

There is only one bobsleigh event coming to Lausanne 2020: The Monobob.

As the name suggests, there is one athlete per bobsled, and it’s all on them to run, push, steer and brake their way down the winding ice track. This modern twist on a classic sport first appeared at the Winter Youth Olympics at Lillehammer 2016.

Its popularity is rising, too. Not only is it returning to YOG in Lausanne this January, but the women’s event is also making its full Olympic bow at Beijing 2022.

So as the 2020 YOG competitors look to follow in the footsteps of 2016 women's champion Laura Nolte, they can start dreaming of future Olympic glory as well.

The monobob takes place in St Moritz on January 19 (women) and January 20 (men).

Four, then two, then one

Bobsleigh has been an Olympic regular from the very start, with the four-man bobsled on show at the inaugural Winter Olympics in 1924.

Two-man bobsled followed in 1932, and both events have been on the Olympic programme ever since... Well, almost.

In 1960, at Squaw Valley, California, organisers controversially refused to build a bobsleigh run with only nine nations taking part. To date, that is the only Games where the event did not appear.

The two-woman bobsled was introduced at Salt Lake City 2002, while Beijing 2022 is set to take a leaf out of YOG's book and showcase monobob to the world.

Identical sleds

It's all about a level playing field in monobob.

Teams have spent years crafting the perfect bobsled using Formula One technology and research around aerodynamics, but monobob has purposely diverted away from that, rewarding the athlete and not the sled.

The sleds are all identical, and are allocated to athletes in a random draw. At Lausanne 2020, that will be their sled for the duration of the event, which consists of six training heats before two competition heats decide a men's and women's champion.

I am sure it will help to develop a young generation because it makes it easier for them to approach the sport, it is sustainable in cost and it’s safe. Ivo Ferriani
- Ivo Ferriani

“The idea is to give more people more chance of winning and that it isn’t just down to who has the best equipment,” said Jonas Jannusch, who won the first men's monobob YOG gold in Lillehammer.

“You don’t need someone behind you to drive," president of the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation Ivo Ferriani added.