realized that laying down on a sled -- instead of sitting up -- greatly speeded
up the pace. It would be nice to think that it was a sled driver who had enjoyed a little too much after
a celebration - or a genius... or both!
The word "luge" comes from the French word for "sled" but it was the alpine countries like Switzerland and Germany where sport really took off beginning in the 19th century.
Today, the traditional
luge course involves shooting down an open ice tunnel -- with no brakes! -- along steep curves that effectively act as a slingshot. The result is a slick, icy track in which luge sleds that can reach top velocity of up to 80 miles per hour.
In short, luge is all about speed, and the physics of luge makes for an interesting study for both science majors and sports fan alike. Basically it's a constant fight against gravity, and reducing its effects on movement. This is offset by the modern streamlined design of luge sleds, as well as the skin tight uniforms worn by luge teams to offset drag.
Just up ahead, check out more interesting facts about "the fastest sport on ice" at top sites offering information on its history as well as modern rules governing the sport and major competitions worldwide.
You Need to Know About Luge - This is an archived section
of the Washington Post that was originally posted for covering
the 1998 Winter Olympic Games, but still great for all the tidbits of information about the sport along with stats and related resources.
Luge Federation - Home of the ILF, you'll find sanctioned
international events, results and news here plus info on world
class athletes, tracks and the rules of the sport.
Luge Association - Canadienne de Luge - Like most Canadian
sites, this official online home of the luge team is available
both in French and English. Athletes, events and more on the sport
and what's going on in preparation for the next Winter Games.
- The home of the US Olympic Team, this site features events and
news on the fastest sport on ice - luge - from the US perspective.
Official rules for Olympic level events are available for download
in PDF format.