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Friday, December 28, 2001
Glossary of terms

Bow: the shape built into a luge sled's Kufen, or runner, and steel runner. The slight, circular shape allows the sled to steer. When pressure is placed on the front or back of the sled, the point where the steel touches the ice rolls forward or backward
Box: the hollowed out portion of the kufens, runners, into which the gummie and bridge legs fit on a luge sled
Control: Luge athletes are selected by order of finish and at random after a race to check the weight of the athlete as well as additional weight on the sled plus the sled's dimensions
Doing the runners: the process of sanding, polishing and heating a sled's runners in an aggressive and repetitive motion
Gummie: their are four cylindrical rubber pieces that fit into the boxes in the kufens, or runners. The bridge legs slide inside the gummie, which allow the sled to be flexible and the kufens to move up and down
Heats: the division of a bobsled or skeleton race into sections. The combined time from a team's heats determine its ranking. A lower time equals a higher status
Kreisel: German for a child's toy top it describes a turn that curves back on itself
Labyrinth: a three-turn combination
Line: the best or most efficient route around a track. The "high line" takes a sled closer to the edge, while the "low line" takes a sled closer to the bottom edge
Lip: a wooden or metal safety barrier at the track's top edge to keep the sled from going off of the track
Loading: the motion of the athletes as they sequentially hop into the sled and assume race positions
Lose your head: when a luge athlete cannot keep their head up in a high G-force turn. Sometimes the head goes all the way down to the ice
Pod: the aerodynamic shell attached to the bottom of the luge sled acting as a seat for the athlete. Sometimes called a shell
Omega: a turn shaped like the Greek letter Omega -- a W
Rodel: the German word for sled
Runner: The round beveled blades. A bobsled has four while skeleton and luge have two
Runner friction: Bobsled runners are not sharp and are designed to glide along the ice. When runners are rough they hit ruts in the ice or cause ruts creating friction between the sled and the ice
Steels: the steel runners that are attached to the kufens on a luge sled. The steels are the only part of the sled to touch the ice surface
Sturz: German for crash
Weigh-in: in luge, athletes are all strip-weighed before a race to determine how much additional weight each athlete can wear

Sources: U.S.A. Luge and U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation