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    Confused about the "Luge"

    I’m writing this to you at the end of February. That having been said, you will hopefully understand my discussing the winter Olympics that just ended last week. I literally would watch every night with great interest. As with many people that were watching, I was most taken with the figure skating competition. I did, though, watch all the other events as well.

    Which brings me to my question. Does anyone understand or care about "The Luge?" I have been an athlete my whole life and I’m sorry, but that particular "sport" doesn’t strike me as remotely athletic. As one announcer most aptly put it, "imagine laying down on your back in bed and travelling as fast as you can in an ice chute." I am certain that on some level, the people doing this "sport" must have to do some intensive training, though I haven’t a clue what that training would be.

    I have always concentrated on cardiovascular training when I used to run distance. It certainly helped build my stamina and strength while seriously giving me an intense workout. But I simply can’t figure out what type of training would be appropriate for this Olympic competition. I was even more amazed to see a team from the Island of Jamaica! Where would those guys even learn about this? And, where would they have to travel to be able to practice? The whole idea of this being an Olympic event simply leaves me in wonder.

    As I have already told you, the figure skating competition really drew me in. If any of you watched the women’s final long program then you already know the outcome. If you didn’t watch it, let me just briefly outline what happened. The United States had a favorite that we all hoped would win. Sadly, she did not win the gold medal. Not even the silver as she had 4 years ago. She won the bronze, and tried very hard to react with dignity. Her name is Michelle Kwan. Hopefully she will continue to skate professionally with "Stars On Ice." The real surprise was a young girl of just 16 years. Her name is Sarah Hughs. The thing of it was this. After her short program several nights earlier, she was in 4th place.

    Everyone was betting on Michelle. But as she later said in an interview, "it just wasn’t my night." It was very sad to see her win just the bronze, but it will be great to see her skating professionally! As for Sarah, it was wonderful to see her and her coach fall to the ground with excitement when they realized that she had won the gold.

    I have enjoyed watching these games since I was about 12 years old. I am always surprised when they end because it seems as if they had just started. The one question I have had for years, and probably will be asking for years to come is about the "sport" where they lay on their backs and travel through an ice chute. I just don’t get that. And I don’t think I ever will.

    "Kathryn Spira, a native of Cleveland who pursued an acting career in NYC and Los Angeles, now pursues free lance writing from Caroga Lake here in Fulton County. Previous columns may be accessed at her web site www.kathrynskorner.com"