Any youngsters out there reading this? Do you want to be an Olympian? Strap yourself to one of these sleds and congrats! You’ve made the Olympics!
Now here’s the twist…and there is a twist…
You have to go over 80 miles per hour down a sheet of ice. Headfirst if you’re stupid enough to choose skeleton.
I don’t mean to sound morbid, but they’d save some time if they went down the slide in a coffin and had the finish line be in a boneyard. You have to be a real dumb-dumb to get into this sport.
If you or your child is interested in getting into luge or skeleton, please get a psych eval pronto. Sure, you probably have a 90% chance of representing your country at the Olympics, but is that worth risking life and limb over?
I’ve previously gone on record saying I would make the American ski jumping squad in 2022 if the readers would pay my salary in the interim, but you’re not getting me near one of these tracks. Here are the people who are just bonkers enough to have gotten into this career.
Sungbin Yun gets to walk around telling people he’s the best in the world at hurtling himself headfirst down a rock-hard slide. What an honor. The 23-year-old South Korean is coming off a gold medal in the 2017-18 Skeleton World Cup—who knew there was such a thing?!?
But is he truly the best in the world? That’s the real question. And my answer is no.
You’re going to want to bet on Martins Dukurs, the Latvian Legend. Dukurs didn’t win this year’s World Cup…he only won the previous eight…EIGHT!
He’s come up slightly short in the previous two Olympics, winning the silver in both 2010 and 2014. In 2010, the winner’s time was 3 minutes and 29.73 seconds. Poor Dukurs slid across the line in 3 minutes and 29.80 seconds. Talk about a rough four-year wait! And then, he came in second by less than a second again in 2014. Someone give this guy a hug for Pete’s sake. I’ve already taken him at +275 and you should, too.
On the women’s side, Germany’s Jacqueline Loelling (or Lölling, as her Wikipedia states) is laughing straight to the bank at -120. She’s won the past two World Cups and I believe she is fairly priced at -120.
If you want some value, her countrymate Tina Hermann is not a bad option at +450. She’s won back-to-back World Cup silvers and could easily win given the split-second nature of the sport.
The feet-first variation, luge, has been dominated by Felix Loch over the past several years. Loch has won six of the past seven Luge World Cups, including the most recent. Unlike poor, poor Dukurs, Loch has actually won the past two Olympic golds.
His best competition is expected to be old Wolfgang Mozart over there from Austria, but value-wise, Roman Repilov is rather intriguing. Repilov won the 2016-17 World Cup and has been luging well as of late, coming in 1st and 2nd in his past two events. At nine bills, Repilov provides a great payout.
If you’re a women’s luger, you’re probably not that good unless your last name has “berger” in it. You’re also probably not that good if you’re not from Germany. Natalie Geisenberger and Dajana Eitberger of Germany are the two favorites, with fellow German Tatjana Huefner not too far behind.
Geisenberger is the reigning Olympic champ and in the midst of a World Cup six-peat. Huefner had a five-peat herself right before that, while Eitberger is this past year’s World Cup silver medalist.
Oddly enough, an American has the fourth-best odds. Summer Britcher, who was likely named after Summer Sanders, is this past year’s World Cup bronze medalist. Unfortunately, I don’t feel she is a great bet. I’ll be pulling for her to medal, but put your money on either Eitberger or Huefner if you want a legit chance at value.