How to watch luge at the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022

Luge will see some legendary names compete on a new track at the Winter Olympics. Here are the key things and top stars to look out for.

By Andrew Binner
Picture by 2018 Getty Images

With athletes reaching speeds of up to 154 km/h (95 mph), luge is considered to be the fastest sport at the Winter Olympics.

It also means there will be no shortage of excitement when competition begins on 5 February at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.

There will be a fascinating blend of experience and emerging talent sliding down the run in the Chinese capital. Watch out for Germany's multiple-Olympic gold medallists Felix Loch and Natalie Geisenberger, who will line up alongside the likes of rookie Nina Zoeggeler, the daughter of retired Italian legend Armin Zoeggeler.

There will be four medals on offer: the men's singles, women's singles, doubles, and the hugely popular team relay event.

Read on to find out what each event entails, the schedule, stars to look out for, and the best way to watch the action.

ALSO: Olympic luge at Beijing 2022: Top five things to know

Luge events at Beijing 2022

Men's and women's singles - One athlete on the sled. Each competitor gets four runs, the times are added, and the fastest total time determines the winner. Women start from a position further down the course than the men.

Doubles - A one-day competition in which pairs of athletes, one lying on top of the other, take two runs down the course. The fastest total time determines the winner. Teams can be comprised of men, women, or a mix.

Team Relay - A relatively new addition to the Olympic programme after making its debut at Sochi 2014. Each team selects three sleds: a woman, a man, and a doubles team. The women's sled starts in the normal way. At the finish, the athlete hits a touch pad, which opens the start gate for the man's sled. The process is repeated, releasing the doubles team on the anchor leg. The time stops when the top driver of the doubles sled hits the touch pad, with each team contributing to one combined time.

Luge stars to watch at Beijing 2022

Germany are the world's top luge nation, and will be expecting Olympic gold medals in all four events.

Their top female talent is arguably the greatest of all time, Natalie Geisenberger. The German is a five-time Olympic gold medallist, but believes that Beijing 2022 could be her biggest challenge yet, after taking the 2019 season off to give birth.

She will have to be on top of her game to beat compatriot Julia Taubitz, the reigning World champion and World Cup overall winner, and Austrian prodigy Madeleine Egle.

On the men's side, all eyes will be on Felix Loch. The German is a three-time Olympic medallist and has set the world record for the fastest speed ever recorded on a luge sled of 153.98 km/h (95.68 mph).

His most recent Olympic cycle hasn't been all plain sailing. An uncharacteristic mistake saw him finish outside of the medals at PyeongChang 2018 and kickstart a two-year period with just a handful of World Cup podiums. But in 2020/21 he rediscovered his best form, winning nine out of 12 World Cup events, and is one of the strong favourites once again in Beijing.

His main opposition will be compatriot Johannes Ludwig, bronze medal winner in PyeongChang and newly crowned World Cup champion. Also keep an eye out for Austria's Wolfgang Kindl, second overall in the World Cup and USA Olympic silver medallist Chris Mazdzer, who is returning from injury.

READ: How Felix Loch reawakened the beast within

Luge schedule at Beijing 2022 Olympics

Venue: The Yanqing National Sliding Centre

(All times are in local time, UTC+8)

Sat 5 February

19:10 - Men's singles - heats 1 and 2

Sun 6 February

19:30 - Men's singles - heats 3 and 4

Mon 7 February

19:50 - Women's singles - heats 1 and 2

Tue 8 February

19:50 - Women's singles - heats 3 and 4

Wed 9 February

20:20 - Doubles

Thu 10 February

21:30 - Team Relay

How to watch the luge competition at Beijing 2022

Luge is the fastest sport at the Olympics, and also one of the most dangerous, the first thing to appreciate is the sheer velocity of the athletes.

It's the fastest because the runners (blades under the sled) are sharper than in bobsleigh or skeleton, and more difficult to control.

“It can also look as if an athlete is not doing that much when the sport is shown on the TV, but we’re actually steering the whole way down and trying to be relaxed – there’s so much to do, but when you’re doing it right, the spectator at home doesn’t get a feel for it," British luger Adam Rosen, who competed in both the 2006 and 2010 editions of the Olympic Winter Games told Olympic Channel.

Despite having to endure six Gs of pressure on the curves, athletes must stay relaxed physically in order to maintain the highest possible speeds.

The doubles event involves a whole new skill to add to the brains, brawn and bravery of the singles: chemistry. Keep an eye on how the heavier athlete, often on top in order to maintain balance, works in tandem with the teammate underneath in the turns.

“It’s not quite like a double-decker bus going down, but it’s similar," Rosen continued. "You have to be more precise and aware of where you’re going because it’s a lot easier to crash in doubles over singles."

READ: An Olympian explains: How to master luge with Armin Zöggeler

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