Sochi: BMW-Designed Bobsled Delivers Silver and Bronze for U.S. Women's Team

BMW Bobled - H 2014
Todd Bissonette

The radical sled set a Sochi course record Tuesday. On Monday, Team USA's Steve Holcomb scored a bronze medal driving the sled in the two-man competition.

Team USA's Elana Meyers and Lauryn Williams rocketed to a silver medal Wednesday in the women's bobsled. Teammates Jamie Greubel and Aja Evans won the bronze in the event. 

Both teams medaled driving the radical new sled designed by BMW DesignworksUSA.

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On Monday, Steven Holcomb and Steve Langton ended a 62-year medal drought for the two-man U.S. bobsled team, nabbing a bronze in one of the sleds, which yielded two U.S. podium sweeps in the World Cup competition last year.

Designed by Michael Scully, creative director of DesignworksUSA, the sleds make use of lightweight, robust materials like carbon fiber, which is replacing steel in BMW's cars.

The durability of the sleds was proven Sunday when Meyers' USA-1 sled, damaged in a head-on collision with a wall after crossing the finish line, finished first in two heats after repairs.

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A former race car driver, Scully make the sleds faster by making them smaller to reduce aerodynamic drag, and by quieting the sleds' tendency to chatter and bounce violently across the ice.

Scully's design was constrained by Olympic regulations that specify maximum and minimum weights for bobsleds and the basic design of the steering mechanism. 

"When you have a limited amount of elements, that means those elements have to be optimized really, really well," Scully tells THR. "Your solutions have to be absolutely spot-on."