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Horrific crash in luge

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Amazing that CNN hasn't even mentioned it. In fact, they just went through a cheery segment talking about luge and the US flag bearer a few minutes ago.

CNN mentioned it earlier, though I don't believe they have had an update.

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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.

OK, then it was obviously an error by the German Press Agency dpa -- the claim that he's the first dead athlete in Winter Olympic history is all over our media right now.

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I have to correct myself: dpa correctly reports that he isn't the first dead athlete in Winter Olympic history. It must have been another news agency. But in fact, this is very unimportant now.

German news magazine Spiegel has a picture of the accident on its website: http://www.spiegel.de/fotostrecke/fotostrecke-51771-4.html (I won't post it directly since everyone of you shall choose whether she/he wants to see that picture or not -- it's not graphic but of course disturbing nevertheless)

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NY Daily News


Olympic luger Nodar Kumaritashvili from Georgia is killed after horrific training crash

BY Filip Bondy AND Nathaniel Vinton


Originally Published:Friday, February 12th 2010, 2:31 PM

Updated: Friday, February 12th 2010, 3:54 PM

Georgian luger Nodar Muaritashvili crashes into a metal post during a training run at the Whistler Sliding Centre Friday.




A medic attends to Kumaritashvili immediately after the crash.

WHISTLER - A Georgian luger has been killed at the Winter Games following a horrific crash on an exceedingly dangerous luge course, a USOC official confirmed Friday afternoon.

Hours before the Opening Ceremony at the Vancouver Games, Nodar Kumaritashvili from the country of Georgia lost control of his sled near the bottom of the swift luge course, crashing at full speed into a metal pole. He was given CPR on the site through a plastic tube, then lifted into an ambulance and rushed to a local hospital as an emergency helicopter hovered above.

Gruesome replays of the crash were being shown all over Olympic venues Friday afternoon, dousing enthusiasm for the torch relay and the run-up to the opening ceremonies. Later, in an apparent effort at damage control, the IOC invoked its copyrights on the crash video and removed it from YouTube - and several other Internet sites.

The 21-year-old Kumaritashvili went over the wall, crashed into the post and lay motionless, his body at nearly a right angle off the sled after the crash. Hours later, access to the accident scene was limited as photographers and television crews milled about on the wet asphalt.

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

The Whistler Sliding Center has long had the reputation of a super-fast course, with sliders achieving blinding speeds above 90 mph. Lugers are easily ejected from their sleds at such speeds, which is what happened to Kumaritashvili, who had been competing for the Georgian national team for two years.

Training was suspended indefinitely and members of the International Luge Federation were called for a briefing.

Kumaritashvili was ranked only 44th in the world but, judging by other training crashes the past two days, expertise was not the problem.

There had been several other crashes on the luge course. A Romanian woman, Violeta Stramaturaru was knocked briefly unconscious on Thursday and taken to a hospital after slamming into a wall several times.

Several sliders, including four American lugers reported terrible troubles finishing the course, while the gold medal favorite, Armin Zoeggler of Italy, also crashed on his training run, coming off his sled and holding it with his left arm to keep it from hitting his body. He walked away from the crash on Blackcomb Mountain's southeast side. The course has 16 turns and drops steeply for 152 meters - the world's longest drop.

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What devastating news!! :(

MSNBC said that it's possible that he was off-center while going down, but of course.. it's way too early to know just yet and a meeting is underway.

Hugs and prayers to the family, friends and fellow teammates of Nodar Kumaritashvili. -_-

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I'm in shock. For real.

Just saw the images of the crash and the moments after.

Those images are possibly his final moments during the crash.

Safety is important, but if you speed down an ice track at 100km/h, surely its just not safe for anybody...?

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I don't get something. Wasn't this run tested and retested before being given the o.k.?

The track has a dangerous reputation


Holcomb has since claimed that the course was designed backward, with tighter turns near the bottom where sleds max-out the speed. And American luger Tony Benshoof told NBC: "When I first got on this track, I thought that somebody was going to kill themselves."

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Yes, this is very sad, and there will certainly be a tribute in the OC.

And, yes, I suppose the onus is on the facilities to be made as safe as possible. But when it comes to sport, there is always some element of risk, especially for so many of the winter sports where you are hurtling, with minimal control, at high speeds over dangerous surfaces trying to push the absolute envelope to get that extra fraction of a millsecond. It's what makes it so thrilling, but it's perhaps a wonder it hasn't happened more often at the Olympics. Those who engage in extreme and elite sports also know they have to accept some risks.

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