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Worlds weirdest sport - but doubles luge no laughing matter

AFP  |  \R Pyeongchang 

It is a niche sport in which two men lie, one on top of the other, in skin-tight uniforms and hurtle feet-first down an ice on a tiny

No wonder the doubles luge turned heads at the Pyeongchang


was inundated with comments when the competition took place late on Wednesday at the Pyeongchang Games, with many wondering why anyone would want to do it.

Matthew Pinsent, the retired British who won four Olympic golds, was amazed by what he was seeing -- even though the luge is one of the oldest winter

"Even as man who has spent most of my Olympic career stuffed into a small vehicle getting sweaty with big blokes in lycra -- mens double luge is still a thing of wonder," he tweeted.

Many appeared to agree.

"My brain is trying so hard to process this," said one typical post on

"Worlds weirdest sport," chimed another, and one person tweeted: "Luge is if you want to kill yourself while lying on your best friend."

"Saw a couple laying on one beach lounger. I thought it looked uncomfortable but then realised they must be practising for the double luge," said another post.

- Deadly consequences -

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But despite the reaction, this is top-level Olympic sport and livelihoods -- and lives -- are at stake.

So what is the luge? The first international race was held in Davos, in 1883.

Unlike bobsleigh, competitors do not have a barrier on their to protect them. Nor do they have brakes as they negotiate a race track of 1,000m to 1,500m travelling as fast as a car on a motorway.

It can be done in singles, doubles or team relay. In the doubles, the larger of the two team members lies on top for better aerodynamics.

There is no women's doubles event at these -- something that did not go unnoticed by those watching the action in

It is not a sport for the faint-hearted.

Competitors lie on their backs on a tiny and slide feet-first at speeds of about 140 kilometres (90 miles) per hour.

Underlining the danger involved, the was marred by the death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili during a fateful training run.

Earlier this week at the Pyeongchang Olympics, American luger suffered a frightening crash that saw her bounce around the track.

She escaped serious injury, but it was a reminder of the perils that lugers face in the pursuit of gold -- and for the entertainment of those safely at home on their sofas.

"When Emily crashed that was really hard," said team-mate Summer Britcher.

"Ive never been so relieved as when I saw her get up and walking.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, February 15 2018. 14:15 IST
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