Host City: Innsbruck, Austria
Date Started: January 30, 1964
Date Finished: February 4, 1964
Participants: 68 (51 men and 17 women) from 12 countries
Youngest Participant: Erika Außendorfer-Lechner (16 years, 248 days)
Oldest Participant: Minna Blüml (43 years, 258 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): 10 athletes with 1 medal
Most Medals (Country): Germany and Austria (3 medals)
Like bobsleigh and skeleton, luge first emerged in the late 19th century. The first organized competition is considered to be an 18831 race near the Swiss winter resort of Davos. The sport remained popular in the Alpine nations, and led to the formation of an International Sleighing Federation in 1913. In 1914, European Championships were organized in Liberec, in the present-day Czech Republic. World War I interrupted competition, and the 2nd international championships were not held until 1928, after the formation of a new governing body. This organization merged with the FIBT, which also governed bobsleigh and skeleton. At the 1954 International Olympic Committee Session, it was decided that luge would be held at the Winter Olympics instead of skeleton, because only one track was available for that sport, the Cresta Run at St. Moritz (where Olympic competition had taken place in 1928 and 1948). This decision prompted the creation of Luge World Championships in 1955, and the Fédération Internationale de Luge de Course (FIL) separated from the FIBT in 1957. Because the 1960 Olympics did not feature a bobsleigh run, luge’s Olympic debut was postponed until 1964, when three events were held, and these events have remained on the programme ever since. Although luge also has a team competition, and natural track races have been held since 1970, the FIL has not been able to persuade the IOC to grant these events Olympic status.
The sport did not exactly get a happy debut at the Olympics. In a training run two weeks before the Games, Anglo-Polish slider Kazimierz Kay-Skrzypeski was killed in a crash. A minute moment of silence was held during the opening ceremonies.