22/09/2011 Monobob St. Moritz: One man and his sleigh
The bobsleigh run is one of the most exciting winter sports in existence – whether you’re a participant or spectator. The daredevil teams of two or four thundering down the ice are gripping to watch, but the newer trend of monobob is attracting more and more attention.
Whereas the bobsleigh requires a team effort, the monobob rider works alone. It’s thought that Renzo Podar constructed the first ever single-seater bobsleigh back in 1979, and although the original was considered a bit of a joke at the time – with its odd-looking upright chair and steering wheel – today’s monobobs are a very different thing indeed.
It is, however, only very recently that the sport has started to take off. It was during the 2007/2008 season in St Moritz that several riders tried their luck with the original monobob, more for a laugh than as a serious sporting exploit, but to their surprise it proved a great success. Riders started to order their own single-seater sleds and, in February 2008, the International Monobob Club St. Moritz (IMBC) was formed. There are even efforts to establish the monobob as an Olympic sport, with designer Rolf Sachs one of the chief advocates.
And now, demonstrating just what a serious sport it’s becoming, Swiss watch brand Omega (from next season the official timekeeper for the Olympic track in St. Moritz) has added its not inconsiderable influence to the party. Says Nick Hayek, CEO of Omega’s parent company, the Swatch Group, “The monobob is a perfect opportunity to attract spectators to an electrifying sporting event, and motivate a new generation of athletes looking for adrenalin-fuelled challenges.”