Wind tunnel helping Team USA Luge

Winter Olympics to be held in Russia in February

SAN DIEGO - San Diego may seem like an odd place to train for the Winter Olympics, but it has become crucial for Team USA Luge.

"I used to be the wind tunnel dummy. Now all of our athletes are here to test and a majority of those who make the team are here testing," said two-time Olympic medalist Mark Grimmette, who is now the luge team coach.

The testing is being done at the San Diego Air and Space Museum wind tunnel at Lindbergh Field. USA Luge has been testing there since 2004.

Strapped to a sled on a tunnel floor, the wind is cranked up to 80 miles per hour. Everything from the sled, to the uniform, to body movements is measured for wind resistance. The least resistance, the faster down the track.  

"We're looking for hundredths of a second here, so every little bit counts," said Stephen Ryle, a wind tunnel engineer.  

The team will take the knowledge they gain back to their headquarters at Lake Placid, N.Y. to begin training on the ice next month.

The Winter Olympic Games will be held in Russia in February.

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