Luger from Georgia dead after high-speed crash at Olympics

My condolences to the family tonight…

At 140 km/r, he didnt stand much of a chance. Very unfortunate. … t-olympics

It’s really sad. So is this: … 1-sun.html

[quote]Canada’s fault?
Some question whether luger’s death was a result of policy of limiting access to track

Did Canada’s quest for an Olympic home-field advantage go too far?

That’s the question being asked after one of the most perilous sliding courses in the world turned deadly Friday morning.

Officials and athletes from around the world will soon move from mourning to a state of outrage over the death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili. And with the fallout will come fury.

As the Games get underway, many of those same Olympians will angrily be questioning whether the death could have been avoided.

An offshoot of the Own The Podium strategy put in place by the Canadian Olympic Committee was to limit athletes from around the world access to the facilities both here and in Vancouver.

The host nation’s brazen blueprint for success has been a developing story as the Games grew near. And now it has turned to tragedy.

When the grieving makes way for anger, the COC will become a target of the wrath.

For luge, foreign competitors were limited to just 40 runs on the Whistler Sliding Centre course, a speedy, technical layout located on the side of Blackcomb Mountain. By comparison, the Canadians have had between 250 and 300 cracks at the run, which was built specifically for these Games.

As slider after slider crashed during training this week, athletes became louder and more outspoken in their criticism of the course, which has been nicknamed the ‘elevator shaft’ because of it’s steep descent.

“I think they are pushing it a little too much,” Australian luger Hannah Campbell-Pegg said earlier this week. "To what extent are we just little lemmings that they just throw down a track and we’re crash-test dummies?

I applaud the Toronto Star for running this article, and I hope that the politicians responsible are held to accountability.

I expect more information will come out in days to come. Googling “top secret project” or “own the podium strategy” in google news yields some very interesting articles. The “top secret project” (what a name!) just became known to the public a few days ago and is the name of the program designed to give Canadian athletes a competitive edge over all athletes from other countries. I suspect this is the “offshoot” of the “own the podium strategy” referred to in this article. This will not be the last we hear about it. … ritashvili
I’ll just give you the headline from this article:

[quote]Winter Olympics athletes blame hosts for death of Nodar Kumaritashvili Canadians are accused of limiting practice runs and turning luge racers into ‘crash-test dummies’ at Whistler

That’s a heavy headline for the UK Guardian. If I understand correctly diplomatic relations between Georgia and Canada are pretty friendly. Hopefully things won’t get any worse.

Well a tragedy for sure.

You can see why at such speed fatal injuries can occur if you leave the luge track.

The Huffington Post has an interesting take on it as well. The whole article is too good to post snippets from - I’ll just give you the headline and the link.
[color=#FF0000]Death at the Vancouver Olympics: Conveniently washing away blood on guilty hands.[/color]link: … 61300.html

I hope the other members of the Georgian team are able to win a medal on the track tonight. Only 21 years old. :cry:

Why don’t they wrap those girders with heavy padding, or cover them with a smooth plexiglass wall so someone coming off the track would slide along it instead of taking a potentially fatal blow?

They did (wrap the girders with heavy padding). NBC was showing the precautions they put in, like wrapping the girders and putting up a wooden wall along the side where the Georgian left the track. I can’t find the video they showed tonight, but even with those changes, one of the American men almost came off the track at the same spot. He kept it under control but still the IOC representative said that tracks from now on will have to be constructed to be slower rather than ever faster.