Switzerland and Germany have been by far the most successful bobsledding nations. The Swiss have won more medals than any other country in Olympic, world, and European championships, as well as World Cup games. They have also amassed a number of victories on the global stage against stronger teams like Canada, United States, and Russia.
Germany has also been very successful during its early years as a sport; it has won three gold medals at the Winter Olympics. But since then, its bobsleigh team has only managed to win one more medal - a silver - at the 1994 Winter Games in Norway.
There are several factors that may explain the German team's lack of success later on. First of all, Germany doesn't have as many bobsledders as some other countries. There are only four Germans on the World Cup podium, which is the lowest total among the top 10 nations. Secondly, the German sleds are usually not as fast as those built by others. And lastly, the drivers tend to be younger than their international competitors. Only two Germans have been over 30 years old - Thomas Plüsser and Andreas Wöhler - at the time of their achievements.
However, there are still great bobsledders out there who were born in Germany.
Bobsleigh is also a sport that is competed in in the American, European, and World Cup championships. Germany and Switzerland have established themselves as the most successful bobsleighing nations, as evidenced by overall victory in European, World, World Cup, and Olympic competitions. The United States, Canada, and Italy are the other major countries who compete in this sport.
Germany has been dominant in bobsleigh since it was introduced at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. They have won the most Olympic medals with 13 gold, 16 silver, and 33 bronze. Their current team is considered one of the best in the world. Dominance in Europe was achieved by Germany in the 1970s and 1980s, when they took home the European Championship title every year except one (1976). Since 1991, when two-country system was adopted for the Winter Olympics, Germany has also dominated the Games, winning eight out of nine possible gold medals. The only exception is the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics, where Canada came away with three gold medals due to political issues between Germany and Russia at the time. In World Championships, Germany has won 27 titles - more than any other country - including seven straight from 2004-2010. They also hold the record for most gold medals awarded at a single World Championships with 17.
Switzerland has been close behind Germany throughout most of their history, but recently they have started to lose some ground.
Aside from the major three (Germany, Switzerland, and the United States), Italy holds the distinction of earning the fourth-most Olympic bobsled medals. The Italians had the most success in back-to-back games, capturing three medals in both (1956 and 1964). Germany is next with nine medals, followed by Canada with eight.
The list of countries with the most bobsled medals is composed primarily of the original six members of the Olympic committee (Germany added in 1936, Japan in 1998). France also has a strong presence on the list with four gold medals. The other countries with multiple medals include: Russia (three silver and one bronze), Sweden (two gold and one silver), and Canada (two silver).
There have been more than 70 Olympic bobsled events since the sport made its debut at the St. Moritz Winter Games in 1948. While two-man teams currently account for the largest number of medals (20), four-man crews are starting to close the gap (18 vs. 16). Women's bobsleigh debuted at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics and has become an increasingly popular sport with increasing numbers of participants. There are now four women's teams competing at the Sochi Games compared to just one in 2006.
Germans have dominated international competition during the 1990s, winning more medals than any other nation. Bobsleigh is also popular in Italy, Austria, the United States, and Canada. Bobsleighs may reach speeds of up to 150 km/h (93 mph), with a purported world record of 201 km/h (125 mph).
The country that has made bob sledding its own sport is Germany. The German Bobsled Team was founded in 1994 and has become one of the top teams in the world. Since then, they have won three gold medals at the Winter Olympics and nine World Championships. Their success can be attributed to their innovative design of the bobsleigh; they are the only team who uses two-seater sleds instead of four-man vehicles.
At the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano Japan, the Germans broke their own world record six times in one day. With this achievement, they proved that their sled is the best in the world. However, it wasn't enough to win the gold medal because the Russian team had problems with their vehicle. They ended up taking second place while the Germans took third.
In 2014, Germany again won the gold medal thanks to their driver Tim Manders. This makes him the first person to win back-to-back gold medals since Canadian driver Hayley Wickenheiser in 2002 and 2006. Overall, Germany has won seven gold medals and one bronze medal at the Winter Olympics.