Olympic Athlete Dies During Practice Run
Tragedy struck the 2010 Olympic Games before the events even had a chance to start. 21 year old luger, Nodar Kumaritashvili, was killed during a practice run on Friday afternoon. Kumaritashvili was in British Columbia representing Georgia.
Nodar Kumaritashvili was almost to the finish line when he lost control. He was coming out of the 16th turn at almost 90 mph when he went over the wall and slammed into an unpadded steel pole.
Rescue workers were on the scene immediately performing CPR but they could not revive the luger. Nodar Kumatitashvili was then taken to hospital where he was officially pronounced dead.
The luge track that was the scene of the fatal crash had a reputation for being fast and even dangerous.
It is unclear how fast Kumaritashvili’s sled was going at the time of the accident, but the track is considered the world’s fastest, and many lugers have exceeded speeds of 90mph during training...
Prior to the deadly crash, athletes and other expressed concern’s about the track’s safety, particularly for athletes from nations that may have been ill-prepared for the “daunting” course:
“I think they are pushing it a little too much,” Australia’s Hannah Campbell-Pegg said Thursday night after she nearly lost control in training. “To what extent are we just little lemmings that they just throw down a track and we’re crash-test dummies? I mean, this is our lives.”
Scary, isn't it?
I understand that the luge is a very fast sport. I watched an interview with American luger, Erin Hamlin, that was filmed before the accident and she said that she felt that the reason people chose luge as their sport was to go fast. I understand that it is a dangerous event but when the athletes themselves are nervous about the speed of the track maybe the committee should have been more concerned.
Not that I put any blame on the committee, in a press conference IOC president, Jacques Rogge was visibly upset by the tragedy.
Nodar Kumaritashvili worked hard and trained hard and at the young age of 21 he was in Canada to represent his country at the Olympics. It is a shame that his life was cut so short.
After a few changes, including raising the wall on the 16th curve, the responsible track is open for competition today.
Nodar Kumaritashvili was honored in a moment of silence during the opening ceremonies last night.