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In skeleton, the rider starts running with the sled at the top of the track and belly flops on to the sled.

Since this is the case, how does a skeleton athlete sprint at the top of the track without slipping? The top of the track contains ice like the rest of the track, but skeleton athletes can sprint as if the ice is not an issue. Does this have to do with footwear or the ice profile at the top of the track not being prone to slipping?

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Due to brush spikes on the soles of skeleton footwear, which are required to be worn by athletes.


From the British Skeleton web site:

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Skeleton footwear

In all races, athletes are required to wear these brush spikes. They’re called brush spikes because they look like a brush or broom, with more than 300 needle-like spikes on the soles. These spikes grip the ice at the start of the race so that the athlete can push their sled with maximum power.

The spikes are better for skeleton than the spikes on an athletics shoe (which has fewer, larger spikes) because they do less damage to the ice.

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    Bobsled athletes also wear these shoes for pushing the sled at the start. – Ben Miller Feb 18 '14 at 12:25

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