Australian Olympic luger looks to gen next

Australia's Alex Ferlazzo competes in the luge men's singles. DANIEL MIHAILESCU/AFP via Getty Images)

Alex Ferlazzo is hopeful Australia's Olympic best performance in luge will inspire the next generation to try riding a four-wheeled home-made sled down a hill.

The 26-year-old finished 16th in the luge at the Beijing Olympics, improving 12 places from his performance four years ago in PyeongChang.

Now a triple Olympian, Ferlazzo took up the sport as a teenager in tropical Townsville and had to improvise by making his own sled before he got to some ice.

He hoped that his Beijing showing could inspire some other crazy young kids to pursue the luge, where athletes laying feet first hit 130km per hour down an icy track.

"I can't wait to see some Aussie young 'uns come through and give it a crack, hopefully some kids watching tonight will be out there giving it a go soon," Ferlazzo said.

"That really excites me, I feel like with the knowledge I have now I can help the next generation and that's the goal."

The event was won by German veteran Johannes Ludwig, with Austria's Wolfgang Kindl and Italian Dominik Fischnaller rounding out the podium.

Disappointed at minor errors in his first two competition runs on Saturday, Ferlazzo showed his class with his fourth and final run time rivalling the top 10 finishers.

"I am ecstatic, it's been a hell of a season. To put that final run down at the Olympics, I'm on top of the world," said Ferlazzo, who trains with the United States team.

"I knew it was going to be a great run as soon as I pulled off the handles, I just felt it.

"As soon as I lay down I was so calm, coming out of the spiral I had a moment, this is the flow state you find on a special run.

"That first day really spoke volumes on what nerves can do to an athlete, and today I've come in with a different mindset. That last run was my best all week, I'm stoked."

Ferlazzo is already looking ahead to the 2026 Olympics in Cortina, Italy, where he feels he can take another leap forward.

Going into Beijing he had an interrupted preparation, firstly grounded by COVID-19 travel restrictions, and then his luge was lost on an international flight.

"Tonight gives me a great confidence in finding the right mindset. Now that I know what it's supposed to feel like, going into an Olympics and putting together a run I'm truly proud of," he said.

"I've definitely still got more to give and will be out there for four more years. I really think I can carry that throughout the next few seasons into the next Olympics."