THE SPORT OF LUGE
A SHORT HISTORY AND THE BASIC RULES OF LUGE
Luge sleds were invented by the vikings. They were designed to slide down the sides of mountains in Olsofjord. The first luge races were took place about 800 AD. Theses Luge sleds were not very aerodynamic, but they were made heavy and strong for speed.
Luge is the French word for toboggan. The 1st international event was held on a road in Davos, Switzerland, in 1883 with Twenty-one competitors from Australia, Sweden, Netherlands, England, Germany, Switzerland and the USA.
In 1913, the International Sled Sport Federation was founded in Dresden, Germany. It was taken over by the International Bobsleigh and Tobogganing Federation in 1935. The International Luge Federation was founded in 1957 and remains the sport’s governing body.
In 1914 men’s singles and doubles races were conducted at the 1st European championships. The 1st world championships were held in Oslo in 1955.
Luge made its Olympic debut at the 1964 Games in Innsbruck, despite protests by many critics that the sport was too dangerous.
Athletes go down the track feet first at speeds of up to 120 kph. In men’s and women’s singles events, each athlete has 4 runs over 2 days and the times are added together for the final result. The luge is steered by shifting bodyweight or pulling on reins.
The doubles competition, in which teams can be same-sex or mixed, is a 1 day event in which each pair of athletes takes 2 runs down the course. No mixed-sex team has ever competed at the Olympics.