For those of you that don't watch/care about winter sports, Skeleton is basically a one man bobsled, except the rider goes headfirst down the hill somewhere around 80mph. How did this insane sport come to be? Who was crazy enough to do this first? Well, the guy may have been crazy, but historians and sports enthusiasts alike know that either way, he was drunk. Here's how it happened:
Around the turn of the 20th Century, the Nobel prize was quickly picking up steam as one of the most prestigious awards man can achieve. After winning the nobel prize in science, the receipient and a few of his friends decided to hit a local bar for a few pints. Believe it or not, scientists love thier beer. Needless to say, they got drunk. Real drunk. So drunk, in fact, that they decided to test their own theories on physics. One man claimed that it is impossible for a man to sled faster than 25mph. Everyone else believed that he was wrong, and were willing to prove him so. So they ordered another round and headed up the tallest hill they could find. Now, being that they were in Norway, tall ice-covered hills are not to rare. They took with them three boxes, one for each run they were going to do. When they got up to the top of the hill, the first man turned to the others and said "I think I'll go first, since I am the only one here with a watch." So he did, and, despite rolling down half of the way, he managed to do fine. The second guy turned to the third and said "here, hold my beer." Not much is known about his run except that he died a gruesome death. The guy at the bottom, when questioned, said he was too busy vomitting to take note. The guy at the top was too busy drinking two beers at once.
So why the name "Skeleton?" Well, when the body of the second man was found, most of his flesh had been peeled off. Authorities noted that he was still holding on to part of the box, and could only assume that he really was intent on breaking that 25mph speed limit. No one knows how fast he was going for certain, but the people of Norway really didn't care. They thought it was so incredible that someone was able to go fast enough to peel their own flesh down to the bone. Needless to same, the stunt build up much popularity.
Considering how dangerous of a sport this is, it's no wonder that the Olympic committee rejected to included for so long. Now that it is an official Olympic sport, however, it is quickly gaining worldwide attention. Tens of thousands of athletes have gone pro in this sport, with several thousands more training each year. Unfortunately, they've taken all the beer out of it.
We're all guilty of trying something stupid or dangerous at least once in our lives, but please, leave Skeleton to the professionals and don't try this at home.