Lugers lie face up on their luge, and travel down the course trying to minimize air resistance. They grip the tip of the luge with their calves, thereby controlling direction. There are three events; men's and women's single and double which can be a combination of one or both sexes. In both men's and women's Single Luge, the lugers race twice, with positions being decided on total times.
Speed is the greatest attraction of this sport. In men's Luge competitors reach speeds of up to 120 km/h. Because the differences in the times of the competitors can be as little as thousandths of a second, not even the smallest mistakes are permitted. Because a heavier load provides greater acceleration, it is possible to add up to 12 kg depending on the weight of the competitor.
The difficult part of the course is the two uphill sections. The start has a great effect on final placings. We hope to place emphasis on course selection. Strong competitors take the curves smoothly. Competitors will approach with a loud whoosh, and will pass in the blink of an eyelid, but if one looks hard enough it is sometimes possible to see a tense expression under the helmet.
Times are announced at three interim locations on the track, so it is possible to enjoy watching while taking these into account.
No part of the article, photographs, or illustrations presented here may be printed or used without permission.
Copyright 1998 The Shinano Mainichi Shimbun