Break the record! China's steel snowmobile won its first Olympic medal! Beijing Institute of Technology helps "Flying Cars on Snow"

On the evening of February 11, the men's steel snowmobile final of the Beijing Winter Olympic Games ended at the National Snowmobile and Sled Center. Yan Wengang of China won the bronze medal, the first snowmobile and sled medal in the history of the Winter Olympics. Yin Zheng, another Chinese player, broke the track departure record and ranked fifth in the race.



Yan Wengang, born in 1997, is a Chinese male snowmobile athlete with steel frame. On November 19, 2021, he won the 17th place of Men's Steel Snowmobile at Innsbruck station in Austria in 2021 Steel Snowmobile World Cup.


Skeleton, the snow sports, was included in the official competition in 1928 St. Moritz Winter Olympic Games.

The steel frame snowmobile is composed of a steel frame weighted by lead blocks, two tubular sliding steel blades, trolley handrails and buffers on both sides of the body. When starting, the athletes wear tight clothes, steel helmets and spiked shoes, grasp the handrail and start in an explosive way, push the steel frame along the ice track to obtain the maximum initial speed, jump into the steel frame, adjust their posture, and slide straight ahead.

The maximum speed of the steel frame snowmobile project is more than 130 kilometers per hour, which is completely realized by the change of the starting inertia of the athlete's cart and the drop of the field. In order to maintain high-speed taxiing, the athlete can easily change the taxiing track without touching the track. The steel frame snowmobile without any steering and braking device is easy to be injured in training and competition.

The steel snowmobile project has a development history of more than 100 years abroad, while China only established the national team more than 6 years ago.


Competition Site


The national snowmobile and sleigh center, also known as "Snow Dragon", is the venue for snowmobile, sleigh and steel frame snowmobile events in the Beijing Winter Olympic Games. There are 16 corners with different angles and slopes in the venue. After the ice making of the track is completed in October 2020, the national team will be stationed for training, becoming the first competition venue for the national team to be stationed for training in Beijing Winter Olympics.

In the men's steel snowmobile project, the athletes' technical actions at the departure stage and corners and the whole process speed are particularly important, which tests the athletes' ability of observation and self-control.


In order to help the Chinese team more accurately find deficiencies and carry out targeted training, Professor Huo Bo's team from the School of Astronautics of BIT followed the national snowmobile team from January to March 2021 to provide powerful scientific research and technical services for its daily training and test competitions. Now, let’s have a look!

BIT helps China's "Snow Flying Car"

In the process of preparing for the Beijing Winter Olympics, according to the technical requirements and project characteristics of the National Snow Team and the National Steel Frame Snow Team, the Scientific Research Team of BIT focused on the sports performance of athletes in the departure section and curve section for testing and analysis, and realized the sports analysis of snowmobile and sleigh in the departure section and curve section based on three-dimensional motion capture, automatic attitude recognition and ultra wideband technology and the athletes' posture kinematics and human dynamics in the starting stage; Based on the technology of video integration and deep learning, the kinematic parameters of athletes' whole sliding are analyzed by using surveillance video.

01 Start, we must "preempt"!

In the steel frame snowmobile and snowmobile projects, the time spent in the departure stage is the key factor affecting the final result. In order to analyze the technical characteristics of the athletes in the starting stage in detail, the Scientific Research Team of BIT set up high-speed cameras on both sides of the track at the starting point of the steel frame snowmobile to record the actions of the athletes in the starting stage, midway running stage and prying stage, and reconstruct the three-dimensional motion model of the athletes through the system to analyze the technical characteristics of the athletes in the starting stage in detail, provide intuitive information and data basis for coaches to guide athletes' key technical actions in the starting stage.

220212(6).pngThe high-speed camera arranged by the Scientific Research Team of BIT at the departure section of the snowmobile

In the starting stage of the steel snowmobile project, athletes are very prone to "pry and slow down". To this end, the Scientific Research Team installed sensors on the steel frame snowmobile and the track guardrail respectively to accurately obtain the displacement, speed and acceleration information, accurately analyze the push-pull situation of athletes on the sled, and then feed back the push-pull training, so as to effectively improve the training effect.


Gait parameters of athletes in national steel frame snow team

02 Turn and slide out of the "optimal track"!

During the taxiing process of steel frame snowmobile and snowmobile, the track selection of curve and the time of entering and exiting the curve have a significant impact on the competition results. Therefore, if athletes master superb curve technology, they can reduce the collision with the guardrails on both sides of the slide, so as to improve their sports performance.


The snowmobile hit the wall captured by the high-speed camera

In view of the improvement of this technical link, the scientific research team of BIT effectively captured the athletes' entering and exiting the corner in training and testing competition by erecting high-speed cameras at both ends of the curve, and scientifically calculated the kinematic parameters of the curve, so as to help athletes and coaches effectively adjust the entering track, find the "optimal track" and improve the competition results.


The high-speed camera set up by the Scientific Research Team of BIT in the curve

03 Sliding, the whole process is "clear at a glance"!

As one of the items with the highest speed in winter sports, the sliding speed of steel frame snowmobile and snowmobile can reach 150 km / h, and the sliding time is about 1 minute. Therefore, the effective training process can be described as "flash by". It is very difficult to carry out effective training in such a high-speed process.


Whole process technical analysis system for steel frame snowmobile and snowmobile project


Group photo of members of the Scientific Research Team of BIT and coaches of the national team

In order to maximize the training efficiency and scientifically evaluate and analyze the whole process speed and sports performance of steel frame snowmobile and snowmobile athletes, the Scientific Research Team of BIT has established a video splicing, snowmobile recognition and sports analysis system. The system can splice and integrate the videos along the sliding process of athletes, automatically identify the snowmobile movement process in the video and calculate the motion parameters, an intuitive interface is established to help coaches and athletes analyze the sports process "at a glance" and effectively improve the competition results.


Inheriting the red gene, members from BIT are committed to strengthening the country, writing excellent scientific and technological achievements in the Olympic field, and supporting the wonderful Winter Olympics with the help of science and technology!