Luge, one of three “sliding” sports featured in the Olympics, is a variation of sledding. Each competitor sits on a small sled, big enough to support one person. The luger must navigate a track with the sled, using either their calves or their shoulders to steer the sled. The track is traditionally littered with sharp turns, called banked curves, which must be carefully navigated. Lugers usually reach speeds of 75-90 mph on the track.The luge events in previous years have been dominated by Germany, with lugers from Austria and Italy also experiencing their share of success.
The current favorite to take home a gold medal in luge is Felix Loch from Germany. He won the gold medal in Vancouver in 2010 and has won consecutive World Championship titles since then. However, he has competition in the person of Armin Zoeggeler of Italy. At 40 years of age, he is on a quest to become the first athlete in Olympic history to win six medals in an individual event. The United States will be sending 10 lugers to Sochi, still in search of their first medal in the individual Luge events. Headlining the United States’ squad will be Erin Hamlin, who finished 12th in the women’s singles at the 2010 Vancouver games.