Those who ride skeleton are either crazy or courageous. They voluntarily sprint, sled in hand, on ice, and just before the slope down a curving, icy mountain begins, they jump on the sleigh, stomach down, and plummet down said icy, curving mountain, headfirst, at 71.9 miles per hour, on average.
It’s certifiably insane, and also perversely ineluctable. The danger is one thing, the Olympic version of a thriller movie, where you don’t really want to watch but you can’t help but uncover your eyes just to see American Matthew Antoine safely cross the finish line in 51.16 seconds.
But one of the cooler aspects of the sport is the artistic element of the helmets. Each helmet is custom-designed per racer, like a race car only without all the sponsors — think Ricky Bobby’s “ME” car. One of the most iconic images in regards to American skeleton racing is that of Jim Shea, the 2002 gold medalist, when skeleton was reintroduced to the Olympic Games after a half-decade hiatus.
His bald eagle helmet remains indelible in American skeleton racing. As the skeleton has become more popular with each passing year, the helmets have become more and more extravagant, replete with animals, Marvel characters, flames, flags — you name it, it’s been on a helmet.
Here’s a look at some of the coolest helmets from this year’s skeleton racers: