Olympic luger was frightened of track before death

The day before his death, Nodar Kumaritashvili called his father to express concern over one of the Whistler track’s turns.

From ESPN.com:

The athlete killed on the luge track Friday told his father a day before he died in a training run that he was “scared of one of the turns,” David Kumaritashvili told The Wall Street Journal.

“I said, ‘Put your legs down on the ice to slow down,’ but he said if he started the course he would finish it,” Kumaritashvili said, according to The Journal.

Kumaritashvili, a Soviet-era luger himself, told the newspaper his son would have been able to compete in two more Winter Games and that Nodar’s Olympic dreams stemmed from childhood.

“He was brave,” Kumaritashvili said.

I can just see Kumaritashvili tensing up before hitting the fateful turn. The Olympics only happen once every four years and are perhaps the largest opportunity to represent one’s country on the international level. I’m sure Kumaritashvili felt it was his duty to compete. Sadly, while undoubtedly riddled with fear, he died.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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Georgia’s president understandably frustrated with Olympic officials

Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili, like any sensible human, doesn’t agree with Olympic officials that one of his nation’s athletes, luger Nodar Kumartshvili, is responsible for his own death.

From the Los Angeles Times:

“There were questions being asked about this place,” President Mikheil Saakashvili said. “There were suggestions that the wall should have been higher there.”

Nodar Kumaritashvili was killed when he lost control of his sled at about 80 mph, flipped over the lip of the track and slammed into an unpadded roof support post. Saakashvili reacted to suggestions that the 21-year-old athlete lacked the necessary experience to handle the course.

“They said that what happened yesterday was because of human error,” the president said. “Well, with all due respect … one thing I know for sure, that no sports mistake is supposed to lead to a death.”

Even some veteran lugers had previously commented on the difficulty of the Whistler track. Officials are now extending the wall along the lip, Saakashvili said.

“But I think the best news would be if, in the future, they listen more to the grievances of sportsmen,” he said. “And we don’t have to do things in the aftermath.”

The International Luge Federation and the Vancouver Olympic Committe are the ones who refuse to take responsibility for the tragic accident. They are morons. You see all the crying and the mourning from these guys in their suits, but their deep-seeded insensitivity is just disappointing. All they had to do was express regret for not taking the proper precautions. That’s it.


Photo from fOTOGLIF

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