This week we want to take a look at a couple of the more obscure events at the Winter Olympics, Luge and Skeleton. Known as “the fastest sport on ice” these are the events where athletes compete in a time trial race down a bobsled track, they will be travelling at speeds near 90mph and can only use their balance to steer round the corners.
What is the difference?
The difference is a fairly simple one, it is just remembering which is which that is tricky!
The Skeleton event is competed individually, the race starts by running 40 meters before mounting their sled and sliding head first down the course.
The Luge event has an individual event, a 2-man event and, a team relay. Unlike the Skeleton the athletes will start seated on their sled and use specially made gloves to gain speed before sliding down feet first.
How do you win?
In the Skeleton event the athletes will take a total of four runs down the track and the total times will be added together and the fastest total time is the winner, in the event that two athletes have a tied score they will share positions in the rankings. (meaning there could be two gold medal winners!).
Luge events follow the same timing rules as the Skeleton, however the team relay obvious follows slightly different rules. The event consists of three runs running one after the other, a women’s single sled, men’s singles and a men’s doubles sled. The first sled will go down the course and the next sled starts when the first presses a touchpad at the bottom of the track. The timer starts when the first run begins and continues until the last run is complete.
Who to look out for
The Skeleton event can throw up winners from anywhere in the world however in the Men’s Skeleton event the Dukurs’ brothers from Latvia will be looking to make the podium with Martins taking Silver in 2010 and Gold in 2014, and older brother Tomass taking Bronze in 2014. In the Women’s Skeleton the British athletes have taken over with Gold in 2010 for Amy Williams and 2014 for Lizzy Yarnold, worth keeping an eye on again in PyeongChang.
In the Luge event there is one country that has dominated in this event, Germany, and one man who will be looking to replicate German history is Felix Loch, he will be bidding for his third consecutive Gold! He will be looking to follow in the footsteps of Georg Hackl who won Golds in 92, 94 and 98 as well as Silvers in 88 and 2002. The Women’s event is more wide open as in any German could win it….Germany have won 12 medals in the last 5 years only giving up bronze in 98 and 2014 and the silver in 2010! And if you couldn’t guess by now the German’s will be favourites for the Team Relay.
Featured image: ©Olympic Rings, 15.02.2013, pixabay.com
Written by Imran Ali