The 'Go Face' unmasks the emotions behind Olympic lugers' helmets

There’s something about Olympic athletes that makes me shake my head in disbelief. Don’t get me wrong: I am amazed by (and slightly afraid of) their majestic strength and fearless nature, but I find myself staring at the TV with my mouth open wide, thinking, "There is no humanly possible way to be this composed all the time!"

But then I saw this, a glimmer of hope for the devastatingly uncoordinated. The one moment that makes these Olympians seem human: The Go Face. It’s hard to come by, but every so often you can catch a glimpse of the athlete just moments before the action begins. And it is glorious.

So thank you, luge, for providing a clear view of the pinched, puckered and contorted faces that are too often hidden behind goggles and masks.

Alexander Hassenstein / Today
Tatjana Huefner of Germany prepares for her first run during the women's luge singles on Feb. 10.

This is the face I would make if I was throwing myself down a frozen track at 90 mph, too.

Julian Finney / Today
Semen Pavlichenko of Russia prepares to make a run during the men's luge training session on Feb. 6.

Think happy thoughts...think happy thoughts...

Jae C. Hong / Today
Team USA luger Kate Hansen starts her first run during the women's singles competition on Feb. 10.

On Andrea, this is the face of intensity. On me, it would be pure regret.

Jae C. Hong / Today
Andrea Voetter of Italy starts her first run during the women's singles competition on Feb. 10.

This Russian luger's face is just downright intimidating. Moving on.

Russia's Alexander Denisyev trains for the doubles event on Feb. 11.

This is when I would be thinking: Should have signed up for curling.

Czech Republic's Lukas Broz prepares for the doubles event on Feb. 11.

With that lip ring, she can handle anything.

Canada's Alex Gough adjusts her helmet at the start of a run at the Sanki Sliding Center in Rosa Khutor on Feb. 10.

Game time. It's not the prettiest moment, but Wolfgang's still got more guts than I do.

Wolfgang Kindl of Austria during the men's singles run on Feb. 8.

Phew! Thumbs up for finishing — and being an awesome athlete!!

Natacha Pisarenko / Today
Kate Hansen of the United States smiles in the finish area during the women's singles competition on Feb. 11.

Samantha Okazaki is a multimedia editor for