TODAY   |  February 15, 2014

Matt, Al crash into wall on second luge run

TODAY’s Al Roker and Matt Lauer experienced firsthand the dangers of the double luge when their second run on the track sent them crashing into a wall, and Team USA’s Matt Mortensen had to leap over to rescue them. The luge team chats with TODAY about the dangers of their sport and how they knew from the beginning the anchors were in for a bumpy ride.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> want to go back to the return to the luge and the run we haven't shown you. the one -- we had one good one in the bag, and we decided to push our luck a little bit. and to be personally honest, we shouldn't have. take a look.

>> let's do it. one more. let's go.

>> yeah. famous last words .

>> i've always loved you.

>> good luck!

>> whoa.

>> here we go.

>> whoa! whoa!

>> ow. ow! whoa! whoa!

>> oh! that was spectacular. oh, going backwards! let's run it again! oh!

>> if that looked scary, imagine it from our view.

>> i've always loved you.

>> good luck!

>> whoa!

>> here we go --

>> the run felt off from the start like we were going down the track at a different angle than we should have been. pretty soon we were out of control skidding all over, slamming against the walls. and after coming to a stop on an uphill part of the luge track came the scariest part, we started sliding backwards blindly. team usa 's matt mortenson sprang to action immediately sprinting up the course and leaping over the walls to come to our rescue. keeping us from making that same dangerous run in reverse.

>> didn't sound like it felt good. oops. sorry, guys.

>> those big white lines right there, those are your guys white lines .

>> this is where we went careening down, careening back up.

>> they're going to need to fix that before the race.

>> that was not good.

>> needless to say, we're on the lookout for a less intense sport for the next time around.

>> whoa!

>> and we owe a big thank you to the luge doubles team of matt and preston. good morning to both of you.

>> come on in.

>> come on in.

>> good morning.

>> nice save.

>> how you doing? how are you feeling?

>> good to see you.

>> come on, you might as well go back over there. hop over there.

>> that looks pretty scary.

>> there was a moment where i was a little worried about their safety.

>> yeah. the first run was pretty good.

>> very good.

>> preston, when you pushed us off of the second run, how quickly did you realize we were in bad shape?

>> it was almost immediately. i saw you guys hit the curve a little too early and i was a little bit early. i was hoping you were going to make it all right. but as soon as i heard the hitting, i knew something was wrong. i'm glad you guys are okay.

>> bumps, bruises for you guys?

>> a little bit. our producer was so frightened that --

>> were you scared?

>> it was terrifying there for a little while. it felt like 300 miles an hour and felt like it lasted a week. you were at the finish line , matt. you said you could hear it. what did it sound like?

>> yeah. when you hit the walls, it sounds kind of like a car crash a little bit. you hit so hard at a high velocity, it loud and echoes up the curve. i was worried it was going to tip over which would have been really painful. i immediately knew, once there's one hit, there's going to be more hits and you'll slow down.

>> were you worried about what you would find when you came down those curves?

>> i was worried about you guys going backwards. that's why i wanted to get to you as fast as i could.

>> you literally ran and dove over the ice wall on to the track to grab that thing so it wouldn't get back in that curve.

>> absolutely. i was worried.

>> good reflexes. good work.

>> we're going to turn in our spandex now and try something tamer next time. but you guys were so generous with your time and expertise, and we really appreciate it. that was nice. what do you think would be the thing everyone should take away from this? sliding is a dangerous sport, isn't it?

>> it can be dangerous. it can be dangerous. but every sport comes with its own inherent risk. guys that are professionals know how to do it well.

>> yeah. and it's a little bit more difficult than it looks. it would appear. especially when you're watching the olympics. although, most elite athletes in the world and there is quite a bit of this going on on that sled going down. and, yeah, you got to experience all of this.

>> yes, we do.

>> this reminds people, how fast were you going if you hit the wall?

>> usually mid to high-80s.

>> how fast were we going?

>> going faster than i thought you were going to be going.

>> not on purpose, though.

>> thank you so much. and i'm proud of you guys.

>> thank you.

>> a lot of courage to do that.

>>> coming up, skating legend yevgeny plyushchenko on deciding to give up the sport he loves.

>>> and stunning photos of the