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Event guide: Luge

BBC Sport luge guide

Winter Olympics guide - Luge

Travelling feet-first down an icy track at 85mph is the daunting challenge you must face to become an Olympic luge gold medallist.

Careful body movements and subtle steering are essential as the slider hurtles through a series of curves and stretches towards the finish.

HOW THE COMPETITION UNFOLDS

In the singles, each competitor has four runs down the track.

The four times are then added together and the best overall time wins.

The four-run format - played out over a two-day period - is unique to the Olympics.

It is designed to reward consistency, endurance and the ability to handle pressure.

In the doubles, the first slider pushes off the ramp using the handles and the second slider holds on to straps linking him to his team-mate in front.

Each team has two runs and the fastest overall time wins.

There are no rules barring women from competing in the doubles, but traditionally all-male teams have competed.

WHAT IS A LUGE?

The competitor lies on a pod made of moulded fibreglass, which is specially designed to match the contours of the slider.

The pod sits on two metal runners called steels which curve upwards.

These are attached to kufens at the front which steer the pod. Kufens and steels are longer on the doubles luge.

There are no brakes on the luge. To slow down, the slider drags their feet along the ice, and grips the kufens.

All sled pods can have a maximum thickness of 120mm and a maximum width of 550mm. The pod cannot extend beyond the athlete's shoulders or knees.

The sled cannot weigh more than 23kg for a singles sled and 27kg for a doubles sled.




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