Olympic Sports >> Luge

Luge

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The Competition

Objective

To race down an icy track on one's back as fast as possible on a luge designed for one or two competitors.

3 Events (1 for men, 1 for women and 1 mixed)

Singles for men and women and one mixed event although women almost never compete in this discipline.

Venue

Whistler Sliding Centre

Competition dates

Feb. 13-17

The format

The singles event is contested in four heats over two days, while the two-seater event has only two heats, both of which are contested on the same day. The fastest combined time in each discipline after all heats are completed is the winner. Times are calculated to the 1000th of a second. In the event of bad weather or a damaged track, officials may reduce the number of heats, and calculate the combined times of those heats already run to determine the rankings.

Important Dates

  • 1500's : The luge appears across Europe and is first mentioned in German books.
  • 1800's : Swiss hotel owners organise road tracks for sleds to entertain their clients.
  • 1883 : First international competition takes place at Davos.
  • 1935 : The luge joins the International Bobsleigh and Tobogganing Federation (FIBT).
  • 1955 : First world championships take place at Oslo on an artificial track.
  • 1957 : The luge regains its independence, forming the International Luge Federation (FIL).
  • 1964 : The luge makes its Olympic debut at the Innsbruck Games.
  • 1977-78 : First World Cup season takes place

The stars

Hans Rinn (E.GER)

With his teammate Norbert Hahn, he is the only competitor to win the two-seater event at consecutive Games (Innsbruck 1976, Lake Placid 1980). He was also singles world champion in 1973 and 1977.

Georg Hackl (GER)

The King of the luge. Triple gold medal winner in the singles event at Albertville (1992), Lillehammer (1994) and Nagano (1998). Also won silver in 1998 and 2002. First luger and sixth athlete to win the same event at three straight Olympiads. Winner of three world titles (1989, 1990, 1997), two European crowns (1988, 1990) and two World Cup overall titles (1989, 1990). Widely considered the greatest of all time.

Markus Prock (AUT)

Often in the Olympic shadows of Georg Hackl (2nd in 1992 and 1994), he made up for this setback by winning 11 World Cup overall titles and two world championships. His greatest regret was losing the Olympic gold by 13 thousandths of a second at Lillehammer in 1994.

Copyright 2008 Agence France-Presse.



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