Luge is an unforgiving sport. It requires complete concentration to get from the top to the bottom, one mile away, along an icy, twisting track at speeds approaching 90 mph.
First one down wins. Timing is done to the thousandths of a second.No judges, no costumes or style points and normally no drama, unless it's a duel between the best in the business.
It's the reason I was drawn to luge a decade ago and the reason I was thrilled to be standing trackside, an Olympic credential around my neck, and watching.
I was prepared, thanks to U.S. athletes such as Tony Benshoof, Brian Martin, Mark Grimmette, Ashley Hayden and Erin Hamlin, who spent countless hours answering my questions and patiently teaching me their lingo.