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The Bobsled Race



The Bobsled Race
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 5
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   3.91

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    filmmakers, italy, snow-covered, fiberglass, accomplishment, minimum, committee, pioneer, crashes, meters, sleek, racing, races, gravity, subject, public
     content words:    Cool Runnings, Hottest Thing, United States, Olympic Gold, Vonetta Flowers, Jill Bakken, Bobsled Team, World Cup, America Cup, Army National Guard


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The Bobsled Race
By Phyllis Naegeli
  

1     Do you like to go sledding? Imagine traveling at speeds of up to ninety miles per hour. Now think about having one to three other people on the sled with you. You would really need to work together. Whew! It sounds scary. That's the sport of bobsled (or bobsleigh) racing.
 
2     It's time for your bobsled team to start. If you are a four-person team, you have a pilot, a brakeman, and two pushers. Your sled is just over twelve feet long. A two-person team is a pilot and brakeman. You will slide on a sled that is just under nine feet long. You've checked the weight of your sled and team. Four people and a sled must weigh under 1,500 pounds or 630 kilograms. The two-person limit is 860 pounds or 390 kilograms. The timer counts down - beep, beep, beep - and you're off!
 
3     A bobsled race is won or lost at the start. Teams have fifty meters to push the sled to a good speed. It's important to get the sled moving. Then they jump on and zoom down the course. In each Olympics, the course is different. Yet, there are some standards. A course must be at least 1,500 meters long. It needs a minimum of fifteen icy twists and turns. A team can be subject to five times the pull of gravity on some turns. The course also needs a slope. The bobsled race is a gravity-run race. The final winner is decided after four races for men. Women run two races.

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