A luge is a one or two person toboggan.
It is a seat across two sharp metal runners.
At the starting line, the sliders hold onto metal handles along side the track and rock back and forth.
The final pull on the handle should be a strong one to send the luge on its way.
Driving a luge
After starting from a sitting position, the competitors lean back almost flat on the luge and steer by pulling on a rope and by changing body position. A luge travels faster with a heavy load so in a doubles competition the heavier of the two 'lugers' or 'sliders' lies in the front position.
Athletes use a steering rein and drag their hands and use their legs in order to drive around the tight flat corners. Braking is accomplished by the use of spikes built on the bottom of the shoes worn by the athletes.
A luge course is made of concrete covered with ice, and has many steeply banked curves. The luge can reach speeds of up to 130 kilometres per hour during a race.
Competitors wear tight clothing, a helmet with a visor, and gloves that have small spikes in the palms.
Luge at the Winter Olympics
In Olympic competitions men and women compete individually or in teams of two. In individual competitions each competitor, or slider, completes four runs of the course. The times of each run are added together and the slider with the fastest time wins. In the team event, each team completes two runs of the course and the times of each run are added together.
History of luge
The first luge competitions were held in Switzerland in 1883.
Luge became an official Olympic sport in 1964.