Published: February 15th 2010February 15th 2010
I’ve never seen luge other than on the TV. during the Olympics. It isn’t one of those sports your parents throw a party for like the Superbowl or anything. It’s totally unique, extremely fast, and basically everything you strive to do when you get you sleds and toboggans out every winter.
Because of the unfortunate death that took place at the luge course here in Whistler last week, the sport has been in the news and minds of almost everyone in the Olympics world, including me. Saturday, I was planning on watching the Men’s Downhill Competition, but because of heavy snows the course wasn’t ready and had to be rescheduled to Monday. This left me with no real plan for the day, so I thought I’d head over to the box office and see if there happened to be any tickets left for the first and second round of men’s luge, the competition Georgia luger, Nodar Kumaritashvili, was training for when he crashed his sled and ended up ejecting from the track.
There were, and I was on my way to see my first luge races of my life.
I had to take a gondola up Blackcomb Mountain,
and get off at the half way station (the gondola actually has a place where you can get off or take a left hand turn and continue up in the same cabin). I got off, walked over to the gate, through the x-ray machines and metal detectors of security, and to the track.
The track itself is a feat of engineering, nothing like the Peak 2 Peak, but still a cool contraption, nonetheless. It is beautifully manicured, painted, and taken care of; almost like an ice sculpture. It ribbons itself 1374 meters, or 4507 feet, down the side of the mountain. For the bobsled, it is an even longer 1450 meters, or 4757 feet. The athletes barrel down this track at speeds of 155 kph or around 95 mph! Now that’s sledding!
I was blown away at the speeds these men were going. Watching it on television, the smooth track and graceful steering are more on display, and you know they are going fast, but when you watch a luger go my you at that speed it is a truly awesome thing to watch (and difficult to get a picture of!).
I will leave you with a
few goodies to keep you busy until my next post. I did happen to get a few good shots of the lugers in action (with about a million deletes on my camera), so enjoy those, also, I will give you a few videos of the lugers in action that I took. Lastly, I will leave you with a discussion point surrounding the luge…
This Whistler luge track has been called the fastest track ever, and was a topic of controversy even before the tragic death of Nodar. It was setting world record, after world record, and an influx of violent crashes happened on it. The Olympics have moved the starts down the track nearly 170 meters (554 feet) which will slow down the riders an estimated 30 mph. It has also built a wall at the place of the accident to ensure a similar accident won’t happen again.
The question is… Is luge simply a very dangerous sport, and accidents, unfortunately, will happen, or, was the track too dangerous?
To go back to the questions, just click- Olympics Trivia!
1. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada;
2. 1924; 3. 1992;
7. ice sports, alpine skiing and snowboard, and Nordic events;
8. Nordic skiing, figure skating, speed skating, bobsled and hockey;
16. curling, ice hockey, figure skating and speed skating;
20. Eric Heiden;
21. Tara Lipinski;
23. Herschel Walker;
There are more photos below