Luge: the underappreciated, but, deadly sport


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USA’s Zachary Di Gregorio and Sean Hollander compete in the luge doubles event at the 2022 Bejing Olympics.

Kendelle Hung-Ino, Editor In Chief

Unless it’s the Winter Olympics, luge doesn’t get much love from sports fans. Even then, it doesn’t compare to the action-packed events that appear at the games. The luge events wrapped up last week Thursday, but it isn’t too late to appreciate the high-speed sport.


What’s luge?

In luge, one or two athletes lay on a flat sled, feet first and on their back. They propel themselves down the ice track which is built with an incline so that gravity works to move the athlete and sled. Medalists are determined by the fastest total time made up of four runs. 


Ok, so how does one luge?

Luge is more than just riding down a slide. The course starts off with the athlete pushing themself down the track with spiked gloves, then hopping onto the sled. The luger endures a lot of pressure but must stay relaxed to reach their maximum acceleration. Their body has to stay stiff, and small shoulder and body movements direct the sled. 

The athlete can travel up to 90 mph down the track, making it the fastest Winter Olympic sport—even compared to skeleton and bobsled. 


Isn’t that dangerous?

Yes, it is. At the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver a Georgian luger died during a training run. He was traveling nearly 90 mph, flipped off his sled, flew over the wall and hit a steel post. Saba Kumaritashvili, the cousin of the luger who died in the tragedy 12 years ago made his first Olympic appearance at the 2022 games. U.S. luge’s Emily Sweeney also suffered a major crash four years ago that resulted in her breaking her back and neck.

Lugers are prone to contusions, strains, and the most serious being concussions. This game’s women’s opening runs were filled with crashes. Their chances aren’t completely lost when they fall off the sled though, if the athlete is able to pass the finish line holding onto their sled they’re able to complete another run.


What were the results at the 2022 Winter Olympics?

Germany has yet again dominated in the luge events. They swept the four luge events, and have won 38 of the possible 52 medals.