To the home of Irish Luge
Konigssee World Championships
We have reached the highlight of this years luge season, the World Championships. 3 days of back to back racing on this notoriously difficult track. After a personal best performance in the Preliminary race, Elsa finished 40th overall in the womens main event. Alongside this she achieved a respectable 42nd place in the womens sprint event.
St Moritz World Cup
St Moritz is the home of the sliding sports, a track with no artificial structure which is rebuilt every winter from ice, making it unique in the luge world. This track has not been used in the world cup for 9 years, making this week the first time many of the international athletes will have slid here. Elsa finished in a strong 29th place in Nations Cup. This experience will be very valuable with the circuit returning to this track for the European championships next season.
2020/21 Season comes to an end
This season has been a challenging one for all of the athletes competing internationally, coping with the many restrictions put in place by the Covid Pandemic. However, this has not made it any less successful. Elsa Desmond finishes the season in 50th Place in the Wold cup standings and 43rd Place in the Nations cup standings, an impressive achievement along side her final year of medical school. As we look ahead to the Olympic season we are all very excited for what is to come.
Luge riders hurtle down a slippery ice track at great speed, relying on reflexes for steering. Unlike bobsleigh, however, they have no protection should they make an error.
Luge is the French word for “sledge” and, like bobsleigh, it was developed as a sport in Switzerland. Its roots go back to the 16th century, but it was not until 300 years later that the first luge tracks were built by Swiss hotel owners to cater for thrill-seeking tourists.
The first international race course was held in Davos in 1883, with competitors racing along an icy 4km road between Davos and the village of Klosters.
Luge is one of the oldest winter sports. It involves competitors lying on their backs on a tiny sled with their feet stretched out in front of them, and racing down an icy track at speeds in the range of 140 km/h, without brakes. As well as the singles, there is a pairs event, with the larger of the two team members lying on top for better aerodynamics.
It was not until 1955 that the first World Championship was organised, i.e. 41 years after the first European Championships. Nine years later, in 1964, luge made its Olympic debut, at the Innsbruck Games, 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 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 in Lillehammer, 1998 in Nagano and 2002 in Salt Lake City.
Based in Oldcastle Co. Meath, the Irish Luge federation was founded in 2020 to support Irish luge athletes on the world stage.