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Feb. 12 2010 - 3:26 pm | 22,479 views | 1 recommendation | 1 comment

Georgian luge competitor dies in training crash; video shows it’s a dangerous sport

The 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia has its first fatality. NBCSports has some of the details on the death of Georgian luger during a training run:

A men’s Olympic luger from the former Soviet republic of Georgia reportedly died after crashing during a training run Friday.

The Toronto Sun reported that Nodar Kumaritashvili was killed after losing control of his sled, going over the track wall and hitting a steel pole near the finish line at the Whistler Sliding Center.

Emergency crews performed CPR on the 21-year-old athlete, a native of Borjomi, Georgia, but were unable to save his life.

[...]

Training was suspended indefinitely. Members of the International Luge Federation were called for a briefing and team captains from each nation were asked to attend a meeting.

When you think of ski jumping, bobsledding, and even the short-track speed skating with those sharp skates and fingers on the ice, it’s kind of remarkable that a lot of these sports are considered safe in any way, shape, or form. People exert themselves pretty seriously in the Summer Games, but for the most part, archers don’t take arrows in the asses, hammer throwers don’t get conked on the head, and pole vaulters land on the mats put out for them. Lugers go flying along at insane speeds, and how about all that ski jumping hurtling through the air? I guess it’s a good thing that NBC handholds our way through our viewing of the Olympics in America with all their recorded footage, otherwise we might find ourselves seeing some really terrifying live wipe outs.

Are these Winter Games cursed? The NBC story says that a likely gold medalist in luge wiped out, too, although apparently he didn’t face the same sad fate as Nodar Kumaritashvili.

The IOC is doggedly pursuing anyone who posts video of the actual crash on YouTube, etc. The Huffington Post has it for now but we’ll see how long that lasts.

Meanwhile, here’s some video footage of other luge wipeouts. When you see these, it’s really only out of good fortune that we don’t hear about it occurring more often:

And another:

I hope the tiny nation of Georgia will find a fitting way to mourn and pay tribute to one of the eight members in their delegation.


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