Luge

Thomas Steu and Lorenz Koller of Team Austria slide during the Luge Doubles Run 1 on day five of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games at National Sliding Centre on February 09, 2022 in Yanqing, China.
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Winter Games Milano Cortina 2026

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Luge

Speeding down an ice track at over 150 km/hr, relying on your reflexes and body balance to steer the luge. As we look forward to Milano Cortina 2026, let's learn everything about one of the most adrenaline-fuelled disciplines of the Winter Olympics.

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Competitions

Luge is the fastest sport in the Winter Olympics. Athletes lie on their backs on a small sled, with their feet stretched out in front of them, and race along an icy track at speeds exceeding 150 km/hr, without mechanical brakes. The blades under the sled are also sharper than those in bobsled or skeleton and more difficult to control. Yet, watching the champions, they make everything seem easy. Despite enduring 6 Gs of pressure on the curves, they must remain physically relaxed to maintain the maximum speed. The competitions at Milano Cortina 2026 will consist of 5 events for men and women.

  • Women's and men's singles
  • Men's and women's doubles
  • Team relay

Territory

Picture of Cortina d'Ampezzo. Click on the image to discover more about the area.
Cortina D'Ampezzo

Olympic History

Luge originated as a sport in Switzerland, with its roots dating to the 16th century. Although it is one of the oldest winter sports, it only made its Olympic debut in 1964 at the Innsbruck Games, with a mixed team event, a men's event, and a women's event. At Milano Cortina 2026, these events will be joined by the men's and women's doubles. Since 1976, this sport has been held on the same track used for bobsleed races.

Basic Rules

Women's and men's singles – In the singles, athletes compete on the same track, with each luge racer making four runs over two days. These are timed to a hundredth of a second, and the times are added together. The athlete with the fastest total time is the winner. In women's singles, athletes start from a lower point than the men.

Men's and women's doubles – The doubles race takes place in a single day, with each pair competing in two runs. Again, the pair with the fastest cumulative time wins gold.

Team relay – This event was introduced at the Olympic Games in Sochi 2014. The team relay involves three events from the same nation: women's singles, men's singles, and doubles. The women's luge goes first, with the athlete hitting a hanging touchpad at the bottom of the track. Once the touchpad is hit, it opens the gate for the next sled (men's single) to start. The doubles team is the last to compete. The team with the lowest cumulative time after all three crews have crossed the finish line wins.

Curiosities about Italian Championships

Between 1964 and 1988, the discipline was dominated by East Germany, which won 15 of the 21 possible gold medals. One of the undisputed luge masters is Germany’s Georg Hackl, who won gold three times in a row: 1992 in Albertville, 1994 in Lillehammer and 1998 in Nagano.

The legends of luge include the Italian Armin Zöggeler, with a record of 6 Olympic medals (a gold in 2002 and 2006, each), he won in 6 consecutive editions of the Winter Games, the first and still the only one to achieve this feat.

FAQ

Here are the answers to your questions.

  • Which new luge events have been introduced at Milano Cortina 2026?

  • How fast can athletes go in a luge race?

  • Which male athletes have won the most medals in luge at the Olympics?

  • Which female athletes have won the most medals in luge at the Olympics?

  • Who is Armin Zöggeler?

  • Which nations have won the most medals at the Olympic Games?

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