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Luge- Torino 2006, XX Winter Olympic Games

Luge is sport which involves racing with sleds called "luge", small one- or two-person sled on which one sleighs supine and feet-first. Steering is done by shifting the weight or pulling straps attached to the sled's runners.

EVENTS

Luge at the 2006 Winter Olympics will be held in the area of Cesana Pariol (a suburb of Cesana Torinese), Italy from February 13 to February 24.

HISTORY

The first organised meeting of the sport took place in 1883 in Switzerland. In 1913, the Internationale Schlitten-sportverband or International Sled Sports Federation, was founded in Dresden (Germany). This body governed the sport until 1935, when it was incorporated in the Fédération Internationale de Bobsleigh et de Tobogganing (FIBT, International Bobsleigh and Tobagganing Federation). After it had been decided that luge would replace the sport of skeleton at the Olympic Games, the first World Championships in the sport were held in 1955 in Oslo (Norway). In 1957, the Fédération Internationale de Luge de Course (FIL, International Luge Federation) was founded. Luging events were included in the Olympic Winter Games in 1964.

RULES OF LUGE

The rules are fairly simple in luge. The course is timed, and the athlete must depart within a certain time window (usually 10 seconds) from the start once it is declared free. There are weight restrictions on the sleds, as well as restrictions on the design and construction. Especially the steel runners underneath are known to cause controversy. Like other timed sports, qualifying determines start position, important during deteriorating track conditions, and overall time is an aggregate of two or three runs down the course.

Competition format: Two different events are held in luge, events for single-seaters and events for double-seaters. Technically, women are allowed to compete in the doubles, but their strength is usually insufficient to compete at international level. Additionally, at major championships, a team competition is held, where one man, one woman and a double form a team. Such teams may consists of lugers of two different nations.

Luge can take place on two kinds of tracks, artificial tracks and natural tracks. Artificial tracks contains curves specially prepared for the sport, and even the ice on the track may be refrigerated. Natural tracks have no such adaptations. Most luge tracks, including almost all natural tracks, are located in Alpine countries:

  • Germany: Altenberg (Saxony), Königssee (Bavaria), Oberhof (Thuringia) , Winterberg (Niedersachsen)
  • Austria: Innsbruck
  • Italy: Cortina d'Ampezzo, Torino (with a track especially built for the 2006 Olympics)
  • Switzerland: St. Moritz, the world's longest and fastest natural track

    Artificial tracks exist in Lake Placid, NY, and Salt Lake City (Utah)

    Governing body: The sport of luge is governed by the FIL, Fédération International de Luge de Course.

  • [the text above is derived from Wikipedia and is subject to the GNU licence]
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