Luge Information

Luge is a small one- or two-person sled on which one sleds supine and feet-first. Steering is done by flexing the sled's runners with the calf of each leg or exerting opposite shoulder pressure to the seat. Lugers can reach speeds of 140 km per hour, and the Guinness world record is held by Tony Benshoof of the United States at a speed of 139.9 km per hour. Luge is also the name of the sport which involves racing with such sleds. It is a competition in which these sleds race against a timer. The first recorded use of the term is 1905, from the Savoy/Swiss dialect of French "luge" meaning "small coasting sled", and is possibly from a Gaulish word with the same root as English sled.

Luge, like the skeleton and the bobsleigh, originated in the health-spa town of St Moritz, Switzerland, in the mid-to-late 19th century, through the endeavours of hotel entrepreneur Caspar Badrutt. Badrutt successfully sold the idea of winter resorting, as well as rooms with food, drink, and activities. His more adventurous English guests began adapting delivery boys' sleds for recreation, which led to collisions with pedestrians as they sped down the lanes and alleys of the village. The first organized meeting of the sport took place in 1783 in Sweden. In 1913, the Internationale Schlittensportverband 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 . 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 . In 1957, the Fédération Internationale de Luge de Course was founded. Luge events were first included in the Olympic Winter Games in 1964.

For more information, please see List of bobsleigh, luge, and skeleton tracks.

Wikipedia, Luge, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luge (as of Apr 1, 2010)

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