USA luge team tests equipment in San Diego

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SAN DIEGO — Members of the USA Luge team did special testing in San Diego Monday to get ready for the Winter Olympics.

USA Luge team tests equipment in San DiegoIt turns out the road to the Winter Olympics goes straight through the San Diego Low Speed Wind Tunnel.

The athletes train their bodies all year, including putting their equipment to the test.

“Everything  counts when we’re on the track,” Preston Grifall said.

Griffall and Matthew Mortensen  came to the tunnel to see how their new sled stacks up to the one they used last year.

They’ll look at different sled positions and suit fabrics.

Luge races are measured down to one thousandth of a second and they can reach 5G’s when they go into curves. That means minor adjustments can have a major impact.

Something as small as changing your suit material from like a nylon to a spandex per say if you’re being generic, the wind tunnel will pick up that kind of change in drag,” Mortensen said.

Luge Sport Program Director Mark Grimette is a two-time Olympic medalist himself and he works closely with the wind tunnel staff to compare numbers.

The team has used the facility since 2004 and a special balance under the sled allows them to get precise measurements.USA Luge team tests equipment in San Diego

“What has the lowest amount of drag, that’s what we’re going to go with in competition,” Grimette said.

All of that airpower comes from  a 2,200 horse power motor.

Monday the team members got blasted by wind speeds that reached up to 80 mph and they say nothing compares to the real thing.

“Imagine being on an ice rollercoaster and not being strapped into anything and just letting her rip,” Griffall said. “It’s amazing and a cool feeling for sure.”

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