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76-year-old is oldest luge competitor

Dick Genovese, 76, of Rockford, Illinois is a former eight-time National Champion in the luge. He is the oldest luge competitor ever. He’s still competing in the Masters Division.
ROCKFORD, Illinois -- Dick Genovese, 76, of Rockford, Illinois is a former eight-time National Champion in the luge. He is the oldest luge competitor ever. He’s still competing in the Masters Division.

He also holds the record for being the longest continuous luge competitor in the world 45 continuous years. He missed out on the 1980 Olympics when he wiped out and broke his sled during the trials. He was a luge judge for the Salt Lake City Games in 2002.

They don’t give out medals for longevity in sports. If they did Dick Genovese of Rockford, Illinois would have a bunch of them. He’s been competing in the luge longer than anyone in history.

You would never know it but Dick Genovese is 76-years-old.

And he’s still doing this. Streaking down luge courses competing in the Masters Division in events in Utah and New York.

"I’m the oldest luger and the longest continuous one at 45 continuous years," said Genovese.

He competes again men less than half his age. He still finished in the top five sometimes.

In his prime Genovese was an eight time national champion. But he never competed in the Olympics. Something always derailed him. In 1980 it was a major wipeout right before the Olympic Trials.

"I crashed my sled in half the day before the trials, and I couldn’t never get another one to perform. Four years gone," said Genovese. 

Genovese did participate in the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics as an international judge for the luge. Genovese still has one of his original sleds. He made 95 percent of hit himself.

"Except for the steel runners which were made in Austria."

Genovese demonstrated how it works.

"You have spikes and you pat it on the ice and you quietely put your butt up to here, grab the handles, lay down, put your feet up and go straight, and hope you don’t die. It isn’t that bad."

These are the boots the competitors wear. Lightweight and rubber with rounded soles and pointed toes for aerodynamics.

Genovese says he has no plans to stop competing.

"I like to go back, so I can see my friends. Until they say I can’t get on the track because I’m a hazard to myself I’m going to be racing, so we’ll see."

Genovese spent 16 years on the U.S. National Luge Team.


By: Scott Leber
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