Luge
  • Olympic Debut: 01/29/1964

The first international luge competition was held on February 12, 1883 when competitors from Australia, England, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland raced on a four kilometre road between Davos and Klosters.  Australian student Georg Robertson and Swiss mailman Peter Minsch tied for the victory in a time of nine minutes and 15 seconds.

Check out the Sochi 2014 Luge Team

The sport’s first international governing body was founded in 1913 and would organize luge competitions until 1935 when the sport was incorporated into the governing body for bobsleigh and skeleton.  In 1954 the International Olympic Committee decided to replace skeleton (contested at St. Moritz 1928 and St. Moritz 1948) with luge, leading to the sport’s first world championship in 1955 and the founding of the International Luge Federation in 1957.  Luge made its Olympic debut at Innsbruck 1964.

Luge athletes begin their ride by sitting on an open fibreglass sled.  At the top of the track they grab two handles and rock back and forth to build momentum.  After bursting from the start area, they use spiked gloves to paddle along the ice for more acceleration before lying down on their backs with feet stretched out in front and heads kept low to maintain an aerodynamic position.  Racers steer the sled by shifting their body weight as well as pressing in on the two runners with their feet.  Speeding around high-banked curves at speeds upwards of 130 km/hr, luge racers can experience a pull equal to five times the force of gravity.  All luge events are timed to the thousandth of a second (0.001).

Take a look at where Canada’s Sochi 2014 Luge athletes call home

Events

Doubles - Mixed

Officially, the doubles event has been mixed gender since Albertville 1992, but only men have ever competed. Final results are based on the cumulative times of two runs. At Sochi 2014 doubles sleds will race through 16 curves over a distance of 1384m.

Singles - Men and Women

Both singles competitions consist of four runs with the lowest cumulative time winning. The men begin at a higher start position than the women. At Sochi 2014, the men will race through 17 curves over a distance of 1475m while the women will race through 16 curves over a distance of 1384m.

Team Relay - Mixed

The International Luge Federation adopted the rules for the team relay in 2008 with the goal of having the event included at the Olympic Winter Games. Teams are comprised of one woman, one man and one doubles sled, which go one after the other from the women’s start position. The woman is the first to start, followed by the man, followed by the doubles. At the finish, the athlete must hit a touch pad hanging over the track which opens the start gate for the next sled. The clock doesn’t stop running until the doubles sled reaches the finish and the team’s overall time is determined. Final results are based on one run for each team.

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