Remember performing BSquat’s to Moby’s “Sally”? Well today, for our “warm-up” and “cool down” we will perform Burpees to The Police’s “Roxanne”. It only 27 Burpees over 3:00+ each time. So it is very doable. Get your mind right party people. Hey who wants to drink beer to “Roxanne” afterwards?!
Lateral Box Steps
Rear Delt Raise
Med Ball Toss
Med Ball Chest Pass
Of the 15 sports in the Winter Games, surely the most relatable is the luge. There are many among us who have never snowboarded. Very few have tried curling. And I imagine that only a handful of us—people whom I hope never to encounter—go cross-country skiing with high-powered rifles strapped to our backs. Yet I would wager that any American child who has seen snow has also at some point attempted to sled down a hill.
Luge is essentially sledding at the Olympic level. Of course, the luge course isn’t actually a hill—it’s a chute that resembles a giant Krazy Straw. And the luge sled isn’t some dog-nibbled plastic saucer—it’s a finely tuned chariot with precision-honed steel runners. Luge is, in fact, the Platonic ideal of the sledding experience. I know, because last March, after pleading with the U.S. Olympic team, I got to try it myself.
I went to the Olympic training center in Lake Placid, N.Y., site of the 1980 Winter Games, and was met at U.S. luge team headquarters by Gordy Sheer. Sheer is currently marketing director for the United States Luge Association, but in his youth he won a silver medal in men’s doubles luge at the 1998 Winter Games in Nagano, Japan.* (Doubles luge is the Platonic ideal of sharing a small plastic saucer sled with your younger brother.) He promised to give me enough preliminary instruction to help me avoid embarrassing or maiming myself when I went out on the track.
We began at the team’s refrigerated indoor space. This warehouse-like room is the only such facility in the United States and one of about six in the world, according to Sheer. It mimics the first 100 feet or so of a luge course, with actual ice, allowing the luge athletes (cool kids call them “sliders”) to hone their start techniques. Sheer led me up some metal stairs to the elevated starting gate and sat me on a sled. Here, we practiced the propulsive launch that makes for a successful run. You grab a pair of bars on the sides of the gate with your hands and glide the sled’s runners back on the ice, coiling yourself so your chest presses down toward your knees. Then you rocket yourself forward with a smooth and powerful release.
At least, that’s the plan. My first few efforts left me in a gangly tangle of sled and human, careening dangerously toward the edges of the track. I’d dismount, lug 30-odd pounds of sled back up the staircase, and try again. Soon enough I’d figured out to sacrifice oomph for control as I settled for a less explosive but more accurate start. I eventually even learned to fairly smoothly transition from the seated start position into the supine riding position I’d be assuming for the length of the run.
As we toured the team facility, preparing to leave for the real course, we passed a complex-looking device with wires coming out of it. I asked Sheer what it was. He politely but firmly said, “Please don’t photograph that,” and then explained it was a “balance point” machine that analyzes the weight distribution of the sled. Top-secret tech.
It turns out luge is a sport rife with spying. The composition of the steel in the sleds’ runners is a proprietary secret, a recipe perfected through spectral analysis and kept from prying eyes. The geometry of the sleds themselves is jealously guarded. I met Duncan Kennedy, the luge team’s technical development manager (or, as he refers to himself, “chief sled tinkerer”), and got an earful of stories about luge espionage. “I’ve been up in trees with binoculars looking at other teams’ sleds,” he chuckles. “One time a German”—the Germans are acknowledged masters of luge—“left his sled unattended on a shuttle up to the top of the mountain. There were hands all over it.”
But now it was time to hit the actual course. We hopped in Sheer’s car and took a short drive to the nearby Mt. Van Hoevenberg, where the track is carved into the slope, surrounded by forest. Sheer brought me to a starting gate that feeds into the course about halfway down, so I wouldn’t be able to gather enough speed in my run to hurt myself too badly.
The track at Mt. Van Hoevenberg in Lake Placid, N.Y. Here, a four-man bobsleigh team competes during the World Cup Bobsleigh. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Allsport/Getty Images