Olympic Luge

Lieutenant Commander Ed Rolls, Chairman Luge

As with most annual reports written during this year, there is no escaping the mention of the global pandemic. Yes, COVID-19 has put a massive dampener on a huge array of activities over the course of the year, but we managed to successfully hold the Champs just before the seriousness of the pandemic became apparent, and much of Europe entered lockdown. Happily, the 2019/20 season once again saw great efforts from all three Services, culminating in the Inter Service Ice Championships held for a second consecutive year in Konigssee, Germany.

Back at the beginning of the season the Army generously invited the RN to their Ice Camp, where ab initio sliders learned the basics of Luge in Igls, Austria. Similarly, the RAF ran their training camp early in the season, and as is now customary, single Service Novice camps from the Army and RAF followed in due course, as well as various individuals’ participation in International events. The season finally finished with a bang, using the GB Championships as a warm-up for the Inter Services Ice Championships.

From an individual athlete’s perspective, Gdsm Ray Thompson (Army) and SAC(T) Luke Farrar (RAF) have both earned ‘elite athlete’ status, with Luke in particular out on the – now much reduced – international circuit as and when travel restrictions allowed.

The Inter Service Championships themselves were a surprisingly competitive event between the Army and RAF. All three Services conducted a final week of training immediately beforehand, and as this was the second year in a row back at Konigssee, progress for those that made it there the previous year was swift. After a very close fought competition, the eventual results were:

Mens’ ChampionSAC(T) Luke FarrarRAF
Mens’ Runner UpGdsm Ray ThompsonArmy
Ladies’ ChampionSgt Dani ScottArmy
Ladies’ Runner UpCapt Lucy WyattArmy
Team Winners RAF
Team Runner Up Army

Of interest, the GB Champs were held at Konigssee at the same time as the Inters, allowing our athletes a little more race experience, as well as pitting themselves against the UK No 1 slider, Rupert Staudinger. All performed admirably and although Rupert won the event, second and third places were taken by SAC(T) Luke Farrar and Sgt Dani Scott respectively.

With next year’s Ice events postponed for the ever pervasive COVID-19, there has been genuine disappointment among the athletes from all three Services. There is a possibility of holding a much-reduced domestic event, but again with Lockdown 2 in full force as this article is written, the chances are slim. Still, planning for success in the future, I am sure there will be much discussion soon about where the 2022 Ice Champs will be help – we look forward to seeing you wherever it may be!