Although the sled has been around for centuries as a mode of transportation, the sport of bobsled racing didn’t begin until the late 19th century when the Swiss attached a steering mechanism to a toboggan.

In 1897, bobsled started in Albany, N.Y. and was then introduced to Switzerland. This spurred the growth of the sport in winter resorts throughout Europe. By 1914, bobsled races were taking place on a wide variety of natural ice courses.

The first racing sleds were made of wood but were soon replaced by steel sleds that came to be known as bobsleds, so named because of the way crews bobbed back and forth to increase their speed on the straightaways.