Luge is the French word for sled, and historical findings point to the use of sleds as early as AD 800 by Vikings in the Slagen countryside near the Oslo Fjord. The Vikings are believed to have had sleds with two runners closely resembling the modern-day version.
Luge first developed as a sport in Switzerland, where the first course was built at Davos in 1879. Four years later, the town hosted the first international competition, with competitors racing along a 4km icy track from Davos to the village of Klosters.
Luge made its Olympic debut at the Olympic Winter Games of 1964 in Innsbruck.
Luge in Russia
The first official luge competition in Russia was held in 1910 on Moscow’s Vorobyovy Hills.
The Russian Luge Federation was established in 1969, and in 1971 the first Soviet Championship was held in Bratsk.
In 1972, Russian lugers emerged for the first time at the Olympic Winter Games in Sapporo, Japan.
Luge as it is
Luge is considered as one of the most dangerous Olympic winter sports. Luge involves sliding at high speeds on single- or two-person sleds. The run takes place on a specially built track. The athlete starts in a seating position and after pushing off lies supine and feet-first. The sled is steered by changing the luger’s center of gravity.
The winner of the competition is the rider with the fastest time.
During a run, the sled can reach speeds of over 140 km/h.
There are three classes of Olympic competition: singles men, singles women and doubles. Men and women compete on the same track, but women’s and doubles’ starting line is further down the course than men’s.
In male and female singles, athletes take four runs down the track. The four times are added, and the fastest total time determines the winner. The competition takes two days to complete (two runs per day).
Doubles luge is a one-day competition in which pairs of athletes take two runs down the track. The fastest total time determines the winner. There is no written rule that says a team must comprise members of the same sex, but men traditionally ride together.
Three sets of medals are awarded for each event.
- Lugers wear specially designed race suits to reduce wind resistance.
- Luge gloves are spiked at the fingertips to assist riders as they accelerate at the start.
- Riders wear helmets with clear or tinted visors that extend under the chin to reduce wind resistance.
- Riders wear special shoes that typically have firm, smooth outer soles.
Luge in Sochi
A uniquely advanced track for luge, bobsleigh and skeleton, the Sliding Center “Sanki” is built for 2014 Olympic Winter Games. State-of-the-art refrigeration technology ensures the accurate and constant monitoring of temperatures along the entire track.
The Sliding Center “Sanki” is built at Alpika Service Alpine Ski Resort with a finish area in Rzhanaya Polyana. This resort sits at an altitude ideal for utilizing KrasnayaPolyana's excellent snow cover.