MOSCOW (AP) Two-time Olympic gold medal-winning Russian bobsledder Alexander Zubkov has announced his retirement at the age of 40.
Zubkov piloted the Russian two-man and four-man sleds to victory at February's Winter Olympics in Sochi. He also carried the Russian flag at the opening ceremony.
Zubkov won silver in the four-man bob at the 2006 Turin Olympics and bronze in the two-man event in Vancouver in 2010.
While sleds were around for centuries as a mode of transportation, bobsled racing didn't begin until 1877 in Davos, Switzerland, where a steering mechanism was attached to a toboggan. A four-man race was held in 1924 at the first Winter Olympics in Chamonix and a two-man event was added in 1932 at Lake Placid. The sport evolved in the 1950s as aerodynamics came into play and new rules were put into place. Today's bobsled is extremely dangerous with the sled acting almost like a bullet on skates. The most successful athletes possess the perfect combination of bravery, precise skill and sheer power.