Bobsleigh crews once consisted of five or six people, but were reduced to two and fourperson sleighs in the 1930s. A crew is made up of a pilot, a brakeman, and, only in 4man heats, two pushers. Athletes are selected based on their speed and strength, which are necessary to push the sleigh to a competitive speed at the start of the race. Pilots must have the skill, timing, and finesse to steer the sleigh along the path, or, line, that will produce the greatest speed.
In modern bobsleighs, the steering system consists of two metal rings that actuate a pulley system located in the forward cowling that turns the front runners. For example, to turn left, the pilot would pull the left ring. Only subtle steering adjustments are necessary to guide the sled; at speeds up to 80 miles per hour (130 km/h), anything larger would result in a crash. The pilot does most of the steering, and the brakeman stops the sled after crossing the finish by pulling the sleds brake lever.Women compete in Womens Bobsleigh (which is always twowoman), and men in both two and fourman competitions.