The luge or
sled dates back to ancient Scandinavia where hollowed-out tree
trucks may have been used as prehistoric transport.
historical evidence for the luge (French, for sled) dates to the
Dark Ages in Norway, where sleds were used for fun, or as an easy
way to transport people and materials.
As a sport,
luge events were first held in St. Petersburg, Russia in the 16th
century. Its popularity soon spread throughout Europe. But it wasn't until 1833 that the first official games involving 21
competitors were held in Davos, Switzerland.
A century later,
the first world championship attracted over 50 athletes from around
Europe, bringing the sport official recognition with founding of the International Luge Federation in 1957. Inclusion as an
official Olympic sport only came in 1964 at the Innsbruck Games.
Today, Olympic luge is held over two rounds with fastest times that are determined
in thousandths of seconds.
speeds of up to 90 miles an hour sometimes results in a spill, as athletes are separated from their sled. However, unlike Olympic
bobsled, lugers have to hold on tight - and not only to avoid injuries. Arriving at the finish line without their sled means that they will face
February 2018 Olympic Luge Schedule & Medal Events
DID YOU KNOW? Olympic luge fun facts
Downhill racers at Skyline Luge in Calgary, Canada
• Although the US team often come up against stiff competition from their European rivals, they made Olympic luge history at the 1998 Nagano Games, when they won the silver and bronze medals in the doubles event. It was the first medals for the American luge team in 34 years.
• The popularity of Olympic luge has spawned an extreme sport called street luge that is popular with skateboarders. Riders use sleds similar to those seen in the Winter Olympics, but they use wheels instead of runners. Street lugers can go up to 60 miles an hour speeding down the pavement.
• If you want to personally experience the thrill of the sport make your way to Skyline Luge in Calgary, Canada which offers the world's longest luge track (5905 ft) for kids of all ages.