To the home of Irish Luge
Road to Gangwon 2024 Winter Youth Olympics
Youth A athlete Lily Cooke has made history as Irelands first Luge athlete to compete in the Winter Youth Olympic Games in Gangwon, Korea. Lily finished a fantastic 27th Place in her event.
A fast moving season
The winter is going quickly for our athletes. It is now a 3rd of the way through the season for senior athlete Elsa Desmond who currently sits in a strong 29th Place in the World Cup overall, after a 20th Place finish and National Record in the Nations cup in Winterberg. While in the Youth A International Circuit the Continental Cup series has already come to an end, Leaving Lily Cooke ranked a fantastic 38th Place in the European Continental Cup overall following a very respectable 16th place finish in the Bludenz new year race.
Elsa Desmond took part in the first ever FIL International start competition in Lake Placid, New York State. She earned herself an incredibly 12th place finish just ahead of the athletes from Austria and Italy.
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.