Einars Fogelis has praised the inclusion of women's doubles luge at Milan Cortina 2026 ©Getty Images

International Luge Federation (FIL) President Einars Fogelis has celebrated the Milan Cortina 2026 Winter Olympic Games for its gender-balanced sporting programme and the addition of women's doubles luge.

The Winter Olympics, scheduled to take place from February 6 to 22 in 2026, will include a record number of women's competitions.

A total of 50 women's events are set to feature at Milan Cortina 2026, with 1,362 women due to compete, making up 47 per cent of the field compared to 45.4 per cent at Beijing 2022 and 40 per cent at Sochi 2014.

A new luge event, the women's doubles, has been added to the programme to the delight of the FIL.

But natural track luge has not been included, to the FIL's dismay.

"Within the framework of the Milan Cortina 2026 programme principles, which reflect both the Olympic Charter, the recommendations of the Olympic Agenda 2020+5 and the vision of the IOC and Milan Cortina 2026 for the Games, we are delighted about the inclusion of women's doubles on artificial track, but regret the rejection for natural track luge," Fogelis said.

"The IOC Executive Board decided not to include natural track luge in the programme as it does not meet the Milan Cortina 2026 programme principles, both in terms of quotas and venues."

Women are set to make up a record 47 per cent of the athletes at Milan Cortina 2026 ©IOC
Women are set to make up a record 47 per cent of the athletes at Milan Cortina 2026 ©IOC

The FIL previously attempted to have both natural track and women’s doubles competitions added for the Beijing 2022 programme, with its applications proving unsuccessful.

This paved the way for the same proposals being filed for Milan Cortina 2026.

Since luge's introduction to the Winter Olympic Games in 1964, men's doubles has been on the programme at every Winter Games, alongside men's and women's singles.

A team event joined the fray at Sochi 2014 and remains on the programme.

The FIL has increased its promotion of women's doubles in recent years in line with efforts to have it join the Olympic programme, including hosting the discipline's first World Championship in January.

Girls' doubles luge was contested at the Lausanne 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games.