Sport: The Cigarski Is Smoking

They had never sent a bobsled team to the Olympics before, yet at Sarajevo the Soviets not only showed up with a squad of twelve formidably well-drilled musclemen, but were instantly serious contenders for a medal. Kibitzers buzzed all week over the reason: three radically designed sleds that were both red and revolutionary. The Soviet bobs, guarded to prevent close inspection and whisked away by truck after practice runs, looked like sharks, or cigars or—the nickname that finally stuck—"cigarskis."

They were conventional in length, height and weight (two-man bobs may not weigh more than 858 lbs., including both crewmen). But the...

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