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Just got in from a night out to this awful news. Could I just check with those in the UK whether the crash is being shown on any of the UK news channels? I really hope not. I want to know because if i

Oh boy, these Games are cursed!! There's still time to move them to Salt Lake!!

Do you think this is the right topic to make jokes about?

Oh my God -- those are terrible news, and that before the Games have even really started. My heartfelt sympathy goes out to his family, friends and the Georgian team. I wonder if his team mates will still want to take part in the parade of nations.

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I would hope so. And I hope they get a special greeting when entering.

My question is this:

Is it necessary for the design of the track to have a pole around the fastest corner of the sliding track? Shouldn't it have been designed to be a bit more safe in regards to crashes?

They will increase the safety walls to prevent this from happening again.

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Here's Nodar Kumaritashvili's profile on the Vancouver 2010 website: http://www.vancouver2010.com/olympic-luge/athletes/nodar-kumaritashvili_ath1002224TY.html

My God, only 21 years old. That's sickening. How can the "Olympic Gods" allow something like that to happen, and then on opening day of all days?

And what does that mean not only for his team's participation in the opening ceremony, but for the opening ceremony in general? I highly doubt that they'll celebrate as if nothing had happened. They'll probably at least put a tribute or a minute of silence in on short notice.

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My mood just did a complete 180. I can't believe it. I guess it was naive to think that it was a good idea to keep pushing up the speed limit on sliding tracks...

My taught are whit his family, but I have to say that I am in complete shock right now... 21...

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And what makes this even worse: He is the first dead athlete in the history of the Olympic Winter Games. Boy, I feel terrible for Vancouver.

Well, actually, no.

In 1964, there were two deaths in training just before the games - Australian skier Ross Milne and British tabogganist Kay Skrzypecki - who were acknowledges by silence and flags dipping in the Innsbruck opening ceremony.

I don't know f there've been any more, but I remembered those from one of my oldest Olympic books.

Very sad news.

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And what makes this even worse: He is the first dead athlete in the history of the Olympic Winter Games. Boy, I feel terrible for Vancouver.

I don't think its the first death: According to NBCOLYMPICS.COM

Olympic luger killed in crash

WHISTLER (AP) -- A men's Olympic luger from the former Soviet republic of Georgia crashed during training and has died from the injuries.

Nodar Kumaritashvili prepares at the start during training at the Whistler Slider Centre on Friday.

Nodar Kumaritashvili prepares at the start during training at the Whistler Slider Centre on Friday.

Nodar Kumaritashvili needed emergency treatment after an accident on a track that is the world's fastest and has raised safety concerns among competitors.

Kumaritashvili lost control of his sled near the finish Friday, went over the track wall and struck an unpadded steel pole near the finish line at Whistler Sliding Center.

International luge officials did not have an immediate update on his condition, and officials would not disclose where he was taken.

Rescue officials rushed to the scene and were performing chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Kumaritashvili was lifted into an ambulance. An air-rescue helicopter was summoned and was over the track about eight minutes after the crash.

Kumaritashvili struck the inside wall of the track on the final turn. His body immediately went airborne and cleared the ice-coated concrete wall along the left side of the sliding surface. His sled remained in the track, and it appeared his helmet visor skidded down the ice.

"It's a very rare situation," three-time Olympic champion and German coach Georg Hackl said. "But there's some things that you can't do anything about."

It was unclear how fast Kumaritashvili was going, although many sliders have exceeded 90 mph on this course. The track is considered the world's fastest and several Olympians recently questioned its safety. More than a dozen athletes have crashed during Olympic training.

At the finish area, not far from the crash scene, athletes, coaches and officials solemnly awaited word on Kumaritashvili.

"I've never seen anything like that," said Shiva Keshavan, a four-time Olympian from India. "I'm afraid it's bad."

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

Kumaritashvili competed in five World Cup races this season, finishing 44th in the world standings.

Earlier in the day, gold-medal favorite Armin Zoeggeler of Italy crashed, losing control of his sled on Curve 11. Zoeggeler came off his sled and held it with his left arm to keep it from smashing atop his body. He slid on his back down several curves before coming to a stop and walking away.

Training days in Whistler have been crash-filled. A Romanian woman was briefly knocked unconscious and at least four Americans -- Chris Mazdzer on Wednesday, Megan Sweeney on Thursday and both Tony Benshoof and Bengt Walden on Friday in the same training session where Zoeggeler wrecked -- have had serious trouble just getting down the track.

"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."

Kumaritashvili is the third athlete to die during practice for the Olympics. Preparations for the first-ever luge competition in 1964 led to the death of Britain's Kazimierz Kay-Skrzypeski, who careened off the course on a practice run at the Olympic course in Igls, Austria. Three days later, Australian downhiller Ross Milne also died after crashing into a tree on a practice run.

Reports are that there have been several wipeouts on the course during training.

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