Luge was invented in Switzerland in 1883 and was one of the first Olympic sports. Luge first debuted as a Winter Olympic event in 1964 and requires that competitors lay flat on their backs atop a small sled and race down an icy track. Luge, meaning "sled" in French, shares many similarities with the Olympic sport, bobsledding. Luge, however, is widely considered to be one of the most dangerous competitive sports, with riders wearing minimal protection and reaching speeds of over 90 miles per hour. Luge can involve either one singular rider or two riders with lying on top of the other to reach maximum speed.
Due to the slippery and unpredictable nature of the track, competitors must rely on reflexes in order to steer. Sharp turns are especially difficult to execute, requiring racers to shift their body weight in the correct direction with precise timing.
There are two divisions (men's and women's) within the sport, with single competitors vying to post the fastest average time over the course of four runs and doubles competitors trying to achieve the same goal across two runs.
For the very first time at the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014, a mixed team relay event was included in the series of Luge events. The relay required each country to field a men's singles sled, a doubles sled and a women's single sled. Each sled completed the track one-by-one, with the winner being declared based on the country that posted the fastest cumulative time of the three sleds assembled.
While Luge is certainly a dangerous sport that requires a lot of practice, it is an exhilarating event that continues to draw the attention of more and more fans.