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What is the luge, when is it on TV and who is competing for Team GB at Winter Olympics 2018?

PREPARATIONS for the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang are well underway with the opening ceremony taking place on Thursday.

The luge competition takes place over four different events.

 Athletes have been practising on the track in PyeongChang ahead of the heats starting on Saturday

EPA

Athletes have been practising on the track in PyeongChang ahead of the heats starting on Saturday

THE luge is a small one or two-person sled in which races speed feet-first down an icy track. 

The first recorded event was in 1905 and like skeleton it originates in St Moritz, Switzerland.

The name derives from the French word "luge" which means "small coasting sled".

THERE are four types of luge competition at the Winter Olympics. 

Men's and women's singles: The competition takes two days with two runs staged on each day. The four times are added up and the fastest total time will determine the winner.

Doubles: Both men and women can slide in the competition, with both athletes sliding down the track on a single luge sled. The doubles luge is a single day competition and two runs are added together to determine the fastest total time.

Team relay:  In the team relay competition one male, one female and a doubles pair form a team. Each runner has to hit the touchpad when they complete their race to let the next one start. The fastest total time following the three sleds will win the gold medal.

 During the team relay athletes have to hit the pad so their next teammate can start

AP:Associated Press

During the team relay athletes have to hit the pad so their next teammate can start

THE fastest time recorded in the luge was on a track in Whistler, Canada by Austrian Manuel Pfister. He reached a top speed of 96mph. 

During the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014, the top speed in the women's event was 84.5mph.

There are two main reasons the luge is faster than skeleton,

Firstly the metallic bars underneath a luge sled are razor-sharp like ice skates unlike the tubular steel runners used on skeleton sleds.

The other reason is to do with aerodynamics - when the athletes lie on their back in the luge they have less surface area and less drag.

PA:Press Association

The luge was first introduced at the 1968 Winter Olympics and originates from St. Moritz

THE competition was first introduced at the 1964 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria. 

The men's, women's and doubles events were all introduced at the same Games.

The team relay event was first introduced at the Sochi 2014 Games after it was approved by the International Olympic Committee in April 2011.

 Felix Loch is the reigning men's singles gold medallist and he also won gold in the first ever team relay event at Sochi

AP:Associated Press

Felix Loch is the reigning men's singles gold medallist and he also won gold in the first ever team relay event at Sochi

DESPITE growing success in the skeleton, the luge has never been a strong sport for Great Britain. 

Team GB has never won a medal in the luge at the Winter Olympics with the highest ranking coming from Derek Prentice and Chris Dyason in the doubles in 1980 when they came 14th.

 Adam Rosen is set to compete in his third Winter Olympics for Team GB

PA:Press Association

Adam Rosen is set to compete in his third Winter Olympics for Team GB

IT was announced on January, 18 that two luge athletes would be representing Team GB in the luge at PyeongChang 2018. 

Adam Rosen and Rupert Staudinger are the first British athletes to be chosen for the sport since the Vancouver Games in 2010.

Rosen has been selected for his third Winter Olympics after finishing 16th in both Turin 2006 and Vancouver 2010.

Staudinger will be making his Winter Olympic debut at PyeongChang.

They will both be competing in the men's singles event.

 Rupert Staudinger (left)  will be competing at his first Winter Olympics alongside veteran Adam Rosen

PA:Press Association

Rupert Staudinger (left)  will be competing at his first Winter Olympics alongside veteran Adam Rosen

The PyeongChang Winter Olympics will be broadcast on the BBC throughout the whole games. 

The men's singles gets underway on Saturday, February 10 with the first heat starting at 10.10am UK time.

The third and fourth heats take place the day after from 11am.

The women's singles runs are held over two days - Monday, February 12 and Tuesday, February 13 from 10.30am.

Wednesday, February 14 sees the doubles compete for the gold medal and the team relay is the final luge event of the Winter Olympics on Thursday, February 15.

The joint Korea ice hockey team play their first game ahead of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics while protesters gather outside the venue