Like bobsleighing, luge originated as a sport in Switzerland. Its roots go back to the 16th century. However, it was not until 300 years later that Swiss hotel owners built the first luge tracks to cater to thrill-seeking tourists.
The first international race course was held in Davos in 1883, with competitors racing along an icy 4 km road between Davos and the village of Klosters.
Competitors lie on their backs on a tiny sled with their feet stretched out in front of them, racing down an icy track at speeds in the range of 140 km/h, without brakes.
Although luge is one of the oldest winter sports, luge only made its Olympic debut at the Olympic Games Innsbruck 1964, with a mixed event, a men’s event, and a women’s event. The programme has not changed since then. Since 1976, this sport has taken place on the same track as bobsleigh. The format involves four runs over two days and is specific to the Winter Olympic Games.
The discipline was dominated by the East Germans, who won 15 of the 21 gold medals available between 1964 and 1988. One of the undisputed masters of luge is a German, Georg Hackl, who won gold three times consecutively, in 1994 at Lillehammer, 1998 at Nagano, and 2002 at Salt Lake City.
Among the sporting legends there is also the Italian Armin Zöggeler, with a palmarès of 6 Olympic medals (two golds in 2002 and 2006) won in six consecutive editions of the Olympic Winter Games, the first and still the only one to reach this milestone.