If you haven’t heard of skeleton racing, then you need to catch up. Not physically though, because that would be nearly impossible. The Winter Olympics host the ice racing sport for which athletes lie on their stomaches — face forward. Then, they slide down an ice chute. How fast do skeleton racers go? Competitors’ speeds usually range from 70 to 80 miles per hour, but speeds can get up to 90 miles per hour. If flying down ice at freeway-level speeds, face-first, doesn’t scare you, then you either need to do some soul-searching or become a skeleton racer ASAP.
Of all of the ice sports at the Winter Olympics, from bobsledding to speed skating, skeleton racing has to be the scariest. Can you imagine staring at the ice while shooting over it at 80 miles per hour? I sure can’t. I don’t even know if I can handle watching it, based on how gnarly it could get should someone mess up. But that doesn’t actually happen, because skeleton racers know what they’re doing. Like Katie Uhlaender, a U.S. skeleton athlete competing in the Pyeongchang Games.
In an interview with NPR, Uhlaender explained what might drive someone to compete in such a terrifying sport. “Due to my short attention span, it suits me well!”
While skeleton’s extreme speeds might sound over the top, it’s not the fastest ice-racing sport.
According to Slate‘s roundup of ice-sliding sports, lugers go even faster than skeleton racers. At the 2014 Sochi Games, the top women luger went 84.5 miles per hour, while the top speed for female skeleton racers was a mere 78.9 miles per hour. (Ahem, for extra clarity, that was sarcasm.)
Luging is considered the cousin of skeleton racing, as it has a similar concept — but racers get to lie on their backs and go feet-first. At almost 90 miles per hour, you’d better hope their feet go down the track first, though.
You won’t want to miss the 2018 Olympic skeleton races
That’s because the U.S. kind of kicks butt at it. According to the Washington Post, the U.S. has more Olympic medals in skeleton racing than any other country. With eight medals in total — three of which are gold — the U.S. has proven that when it comes to sliding down ice, we…sleigh.
You can catch Olympic skeleton on February 14th-17th. Well, you can’t catch them, because they’re going too fast, but…You know, you can watch them then.