Luge

Facts

Discipline of Luge
Participants 814
NOCs 51
Competitions held 47 (Venues)
Distinct events 10
IF Fédération Internationale de Luge de Course

Description

Tobogganing is one of the oldest winter sports. Descriptions of it in the 16th century are found in literature. As a racing sport, it can be traced to the mid-19th century when British tourists started sledding on the snowbound roads of the Alps. The original form of the sport was the skeleton sleds that were used on the Cresta Run at St. Moritz. Twice this sport was contested in the Olympics, in 1928 and 1948, both times when the Olympic Winter Games were held at St. Moritz.

Luge spread to Switzerland in the 1890s as a variant of the skeleton race. The first recorded competitions took place in 1890 at the Innsbruck-based Academic Alpine Club. An International Tobogganing Association was formed in 1913 and the first European Championships were held in 1914 at Reichenfeld, Austria.

At the International Olympic Committee (IOC) meeting in Athens in 1954, luge tobogganing was recognized as an official Olympic sport, replacing skeleton, for which only one suitable track existed at the time (in St. Moritz). The first world luge championships were contested in Oslo in 1955, and an IF, the Fédération internationale de luge de course (FIL), was formed in 1957. As of 2010, the FIL has 53 member nations.

In 1959, luge was approved for the 1964 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck. Since that time luge has been contested at all Olympic Winter Games, with singles events for men and women, and a doubles event, which is technically open to women, but in practice only contested by men.

The sport is dominated by German speaking athletes from Germany, Austria and Italy (South Tyrol), who have together won 104 of the 117 medals awarded in the sport. Sadly, luge has also seen two Olympic deaths, with Kazimierz Kay-Skrzypecki (1964) and Nodar Kumaritashvili (2010) being killed during training sessions.

Presidents of the Fédération internationale de luge de course:

All-time medal table

NOC Gold Silver Bronze Total
Germany GER 20 12 10 42
East Germany GDR 13 8 8 29
Italy ITA 7 4 6 17
Austria AUT 6 8 8 22
West Germany FRG 1 4 5 10
Soviet Union URS 1 2 3 6
United States USA 0 3 3 6
Russian Federation RUS 0 3 0 3
Latvia LAT 0 1 3 4
Canada CAN 0 1 1 2

Most successful competitors

Athlete Nat Gold Silver Bronze Total
Natalie Geisenberger GER 4 0 1 5
Tobias Arlt GER 4 0 0 4
Tobias Wendl GER 4 0 0 4
Georg Hackl GER
FRG
3 2 0 5
Felix Loch GER 3 0 0 3
Armin Zöggeler ITA 2 1 3 6
Jan Behrendt GDR
GER
2 1 1 4
Stefan Krauße GDR
GER
2 1 1 4
Paul Hildgartner ITA 2 1 0 3
Thomas Köhler GDR
GER
2 1 0 3
Andreas Linger AUT 2 1 0 3
Wolfgang Linger AUT 2 1 0 3

Event types

Name Gender Still contested? Times held?
Singles Men 15
Singles Women 15
Team Relay Mixed 2
Doubles Open 15
Singles Boys 3
Doubles Boys 1
Singles Girls 3
Doubles Girls 1
Relay Mixed Youth 3
Doubles Open Youth 2