New Sleds at 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing


“Skeleton World Cup, St-Moritz, Switzerland, January 2014” by Airflore is licensed under

By: Henry Hung, Journalist

With the upcoming Winter Olympics approaching, many professors and scientists have attempted to create newer and safer luge sleds. Clarkson University, a private research university in upstate New York, has tested and designed ahead of the big games. In the past, the sledders have designed their sleds through check-and-error. They are also training their STEM students to learn how to create aerodynamic designs in this process. Clarkson University received a lengthy $221,547 check from the United States National Science Foundation.

With the new technology, the professors can experiment with the materials instead of trial-and-error, which is far more expensive. Clarkson University professors Doug Bohl and Brian Helenbrook have been working on this experiment since 2010. They have partnered with the USA luge team on their expedition to better luge sleds. They have created a sled for the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics silver medalist Chris Mazdzer, who broke multiple records through their inventions. Their creative invention was a fiberglass shell, created using CAD(computer-aided design)

They used a computational method called adjoint-based optimization to develop new luge sled shapes. This method helps detect the sled parts that can improve its performance, like reducing the drag and increasing the lift. This process is even used on making airplane wings! The system is brutal to use, as many experiments can take a month to find an improvement. To further improve, they tested their products at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Aberdeen, Maryland. At the facility, they can try different air flows and air pressure. After work at the proving ground, they can use the calculations that they received on improving the machine.

At the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, Mazdzer will look to improve from his previous performances. His goal is to win the gold medal using the CAD-designed fiberglass sled by Clarkson University professors Doug Bohl and Brian Helenbrook. With all the testing and preparations, Mazdzer is sure not to disappoint.








Clarkson University:

USA Luge:

U.S. National Science Foundation:

Doug Bohl:

Brian Helenbrook: