Rockford Man Masters The Luge

Rockford Dick Genovese has been competing in the luge longer than any man in history.
ROCKFORD-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’d never know it to look at him, but Dick Genovese is 76 years old.

And he’s still 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," says Genovese.

He competes against men less than half his age.  He still finishes 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," says 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 it himself. 

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

Genovese demonstrated how it works.

"You have spikes (on your gloves) and you pat it on the ice and you quietly 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, ha-ha.

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."

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