Canada Olympic Park bobsleigh, luge, and skeleton track

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Unidentified luger at the men's tower start house at the Canada Olympic Park bobsleigh, luge, and skeleton track during World Cup competition on December 9, 2006.

The Canada Olympic Park bobsleigh, luge, and skeleton track is a bobsleigh, luge, and skeleton track located in Calgary, Alberta. Part of Canada Olympic Park, it hosted the bobsleigh and luge competitions at the 1988 Winter Olympics. This track is one of only two of its type in the world to be featured in a non-documentary film when it was part of the 1993 American film Cool Runnings which loosely followed the Jamaican Bobsled Team during their competition in bobsleigh at the 1988 Games (The other was the 1981 British film For Your Eyes Only which included scenes from the bobsleigh track in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy.[1]).


An American bobsleigh team, driven by Steve Holcomb (front), finishing first in the final day of US National Bobsled trials held in Calgary on November 2, 2005.

In 1981, Calgary was awarded the 1988 Winter Olympics over Falun, Sweden and Cortina d'Ampezzo.[2] The track was constructed on a fast-track program running from fall 1984 to spring 1986.[3] This was done with the help of East German technology and a consulting firm from Canada.[3] It was the first combined track in North America and only the second of its type on the continent (Lake Placid, New York in the United States bobsleigh and luge tracks were separate when Calgary's construction was completed in spring 1986 though the Lake Placid track would be rebuilt as a combination track in January 2000.[4][5]). During the 1988 Winter Olympics, the bobsleigh team from Jamaica debuted at these games, but crashed out during the third run of the four-man event.[6][7][8] The story of the team would later be part of the 1993 film Cool Runnings with scenes done at the track.[9] Skeleton was introduced to the track in the late 1980s with the track hosting the FIBT World Championships for skeleton in 1992.[10] An indoor iced push facility near the track opened up in 2001.[11] When competition does not occur on the track, it offers programs for bobsleigh and luge open to the public.[12]

Track technical details[edit]

Costing C$ 27 million to complete,[11] the track consisted of 48 reinforced concrete sections with five separate starting points.[3] The facility is designed of that like a tuning fork with separate bobsleigh and luge start houses, selected to lessen construction and maintenance costs.[3] The two portions of the track merge at turn five prior to the Omega combination curve.[3] Lined with 100 km (62 mi) of refrigeration coolant, the track can hold ice at air temperatures up to 20 deg C (68 deg F).[3] Sunscreens were installed on curves directly exposed to the sunlight to keep the track smooth and prevent melting.[3] Electronic timing systems include double photo sensors at the start and finish positions of the track and artificial lighting is used to allow for night runs on the track.[3] Lighting was adjusted at the request of the host television broadcaster (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) prior to the games to ensure proper video coverage for the 1988 games.[3]


Physical statistics
Sport[3] Length(meters) Turns Vertical drop (start to finish) Average grade (%)
Bobsleigh and skeleton 1475 14 121.48 8
Luge - men's & women's singles 1251 14 104.2 8.3
Luge - men's doubles 1081 10 81.2 7.5

Men's start at the tower start house (currently not demolished) at the top of the track while the women's is at the regular starthouse at the top of the track.

Turn Number Name Reason named
6., 7., 8. Omega or Omega combination After the Omega shape.
9. Kreisel 270-degree circular curve.
10., 11., 12., 13. Labyrinth Four quick turns in succession without a straight (labyrinth)
14. Finish Curve After the curve before the finish line.

The turn names were initially given during the 1920 Winter Olympic broadcast (ABC in the United States).[13][14] All curves shown are bobsleigh curves. The luge section joins the boblsleigh and skeleton section at turn five. Turns 1 through 5 do not have turn names.

Track records[15]
Sport Record Nation - athlete(s) Date Time (seconds)
Luge - men's singles Start David Möller -  Germany 21 November 2009 4.789
Luge - men's singles Track Armin Zöggeler -  Italy 30 November 2002 44.516
Luge - women's singles Start Tatjana Hüfner -  Germany 21 November 2009 4.913
Luge - women's singles Track Sylke Otto -  Germany 9 December 2005 46.543
Luge - men's doubles Start  Italy - Christian Oberstolz & Patrick Gruber 14 February 2009 1.102
Luge - men's doubles Track  United States - Mark Grimmette & Brian Martin 29 November 1700 43.564

Championships hosted[edit]


American Mike Kohn (front left) pushing his four-man team to a third place finish at the US National Bobsled trial held in Calgary on October 22–23, 2005.
  1. ^ For Your Eyes Only production notes featuring the Cortina track
  2. ^ archives of past awards of Olympic Games. - accessed January 30, 2008
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j 1988 Winter Olympics official report. Part 1. pp. 114-9. (English) & (French) - accessed February 10, 2008.
  4. ^ 1980 Winter Olympic Games official report - Volume 1. pp. 57-66. (English) & (French)
  5. ^ List of venues on Mt. Van Hoevenberg for the 2000 Winter Goodwill Games - Accessed January 16, 2008.
  6. ^ 1988 Winter Olympic official report. Part 2. pp. 564-66.
  7. ^ 1988 bobsleigh four-man results
  8. ^ Jamaican bobsleigh team history - accessed February 10, 2008.
  9. ^ Cool Runnings at the Internet Movie Database
  10. ^ a b c d e FIBT men's skeleton world championships results since 1989 Archived September 29, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  11. ^ a b Alberta Skeleton information on the Calgary track - accessed February 6, 2008]
  12. ^ Canada Olympic Park lessons and programs featuring bobsleigh and luge rides - accessed February 10, 2008.
  13. ^ "Luge - men's singles" coverage. 1988 Winter Olympics. ABC Sports (United States). February 14, 1988.
  14. ^ 1988 luge men's singles results - accessed February 10, 2008
  15. ^ From results shown from the FIL World cup event in Calgary during 20–21 November 2009 shown from the live track results.
  16. ^ a b Bobsleigh two-man world championship medalists since 1931 Archived September 29, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  17. ^ a b Bobsleigh two-woman world championship medalists since 2000
  18. ^ FIL World Luge Championships men's single results since 1955

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°04′47″N 114°12′57″W / 51.07972°N 114.21583°W / 51.07972; -114.21583