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The Science Behind the Luge

    The way to win the competition is best explained when considering the formula for speed, solved for time:  Time = Distance/Speed.  The goal of the Luge competition is to complete the course in the shortest time possible, and according to this formula, in order to decrease Time,it is necesary to either decrease Distance or increase Speed.
Relation of radii of arcs to distance
      To decrease Distance, lugers try to stayas close to the inside of the winding course as is possible; this decreases the distance for the same basic reason that circles with smaller radii have smaller circumferences; the farther you are from the centerpoint of an arc, the longer the distance around a set portion of that arc.

The luge is kept away from the side of the course      To increase Speed, lugers try to minimize all sources of friction.  Friction, by definition, exists to decrease the relative speed of an object, so less of it means less speed loss.  One important way of reducing friction is getting the best luge sled.  Sleds can be designed to have good traction for good steering around sharp turns, or they can be designed to have very little friction between the ice surface, so they lose less speed through friction  It is extremely difficult to have both good traction and low friction; lugers try to find a luge sled that has the best balance between the two.  In addition, lugers try to minimize air resistance by lying down on the luge sled; this causes less surface area to be in opposition to the air flow, so less air need be pushed out of the way for the lugers to pass through.