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Horrific crash in luge


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How on Earth were those steel beams not covered with any padding at the end of the track? Coming down the track with speeds like that, doesn't take brains to figure out that. VANOC will get the blame for this 'till the cows come home that's for sure.

Actually no because it is the Federations that run the competitions and determine the safety wall placements.

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I'm really shocked by the news... it's so sad a guy so young lost his live in this way.

I know accidents can happen... and that it's a dangerous sport but there must be an investigation and suspend the luge competition until everything is clear and better safety measures could be enforced.

:(

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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 it is being shown - as then I will definitely be avoiding the news. I cannot believe that anyone would want to watch this and find it disgusting that a so called news channel would choose to show it.

My heart goes out to the guys family/friends and also to the people of Georgia.

I would also comment that people should lay off blaming until the proper investigations have been completed. The people of Vancouver have been working hard for this moment and whilst it is terrible news - the worst news - the games should carry on. I really do feel for Canadians and particularly the people of Vancouver. So much hard work and anticipation only to have something like this happen. I am really quite shocked. :(

Edited by Lee
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I had a short nap, just awoke again and had such a strange feeling -- like a child waking up on Christmas Day and thinking "Oh boy, the opening ceremony is taking place in just one hour!" and then realising "Oh no... This has not really happened...". It's still very disturbing. Although it has (sadly) happened before in Olympic history, it's still something one wouldn't want to wish any Olympic athlete and any Olympic host. It changes so much in the anticipation of these Games. But that said, I hope that we'll be able to move on and yet not forget that brave young man.

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Haven't seen any video footage and on principle I'm not interested in viewing, however from looking at still photos of the crash my question is how come metal beams have been angled over the lip of the ice wall, which in itself looks to be woefully low? When the inquiry takes place the designers and engineers and those who signed off on the venue from VANOC and the luge federation deserve a big kick up the backside at least. Considering in other high speed sporting events crash barriers and tracks are given as much space from potential accident as possible it just seems ridiculous to have such a paucity of safety at such a point on the track.

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Haven't seen any video footage and on principle I'm not interested in viewing, however from looking at still photos of the crash my question is how come metal beams have been angled over the lip of the ice wall, which in itself looks to be woefully low? When the inquiry takes place the designers and engineers and those who signed off on the venue from VANOC and the luge federation deserve a big kick up the backside at least. Considering in other high speed sporting events crash barriers and tracks are given as much space from potential accident as possible it just seems ridiculous to have such a paucity of safety at such a point on the track.

That is the finish area, the walls are usually low there.

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That is the finish area, the walls are usually low there.

Well if the federation and the other relevant bodies keep doing the same then expect more casualties. The combination of lazy construction with a growing pool of competitors who may not have the technical skill to go down such a track safely (hell, it's even troubled gold medallists) is a recipe for what happened today and what may happen again.

This is going to be a hell of a wake up call to all involved....

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Olympic track didn't cause luger's death: officials

Officials at the Vancouver Olympics decided late Friday night against any major changes in the Whistler track or any delays in competition — and even doubled up on the schedule — in the wake of the horrifying accident that killed a 21-year-old luger from the Republic of Georgia.

They said they would raise the wall where the slider flew off the track and make an unspecified "change in the ice profile" as a preventive measure "to avoid that such an extremely exceptional accident could occur again."

Within sight of the finish line, Nodar Kumaritashvili crashed coming out of the 16th turn and slammed into an unpadded steel pole while travelling about 140 kilometres an hour. Despite frantic attempts by paramedics to save his life, he died at a trauma centre.

The International Luge Federation and Vancouver Olympic officials said their investigation showed that the crash was the result of human error and "there was no indication that the accident was caused by deficiencies in the track."

http://www.cbc.ca/olympics/luge/story/2010/02/13/sp-luge-probe.html

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So let's get this right...the track wasn't to blame but the wall will be raised and the ice adjusted? Does't that mean that the track did contribute at least partially to the accident? And the federation can confirm in less than 24 hours it was human error?

Frankly reducing the dangers inherent in the track should have been on the agenda on all officials minds as soon as the earlier problems involving other lugers arose. This is already reeking of scapegoating at best, or a total lack or culpable responsibility at worst.

Winter sports are inherently dangerous; making them more so than necessary is immoral and indictable

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And to add weight to the argument that the track and those responsible for its construction and layout must at least share the blame...

World Luge Federation chief Josef Fendt told a London newspaper: ''The track is too fast. We had planned it to be a maximum of 137 km/h but it is about 20km/h faster. We think this is a planning mistake.''

More than 12 sliders have crashed during practice, which features a broader international field of more diverse ability levels than the World Cup circuit. Some competitors had questioned the wisdom of creating such a track for Olympic competition, suggesting it would be too difficult for inexperienced sliders from smaller, less-pedigreed nations.

Kumaritashvili had already crashed during one of his previous practice runs but the incidents have not been limited to less-credentialled competitors. Italian defending Olympic champion Armin Zoeggeler also crashed in practice.

And the American bobsled team is reported to have dubbed one of the track's corners ''50-50'' because they crashed every second time they attempted to navigate it.

(Source: Sydney Morning Herald online)

So we have the man who heads the ILF saying the track is too fast, yet I assume his ILF signed off with VANOC on the layout and design of the track, as well as setting the criteria as to who could participate. I hope the RCMP who are supposedly investigating this tragedy have a few quiet words to Herr Fendt and ask if he thought the track was too fast why didn't his federation either ask for the changes to be made before sliders could be endangered or stopped sliders without an appropriate skill level from using such a dangerous track.

By the way, having just checked out the ILF web site they've made no mention of Kumaritashvili's death. Poor bloody form indeed!

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Is VANOC serious with this finger pointing?

Not so much VANOC but yes, the ILF is...

The International Luge Federation is deeply saddened by the death of the Georgian athlete, Nodar Kumaritashvili, member of our Luge Family, who was fatally injured during the final training session in the last corner of the track at the Whistler Sliding Centre on Friday morning.

The Coroners Service of British Columbia, responsible for the investigation of all sudden deaths, together with the RCMP, concluded their on-scene investigations on the track and transferred the decision to FIL when the track can be re-opened. The FIL, through its technical officials, further investigated into the cause of this tragic incident. Based on a physical inspection of the track and a thorough review of the tapes they have concluded the following:

It appears after a routine run, the athlete came late out of curve 15 and did not compensate properly to make correct entrance into curve 16. This resulted in a late entrance into curve 16 and although the athlete worked to correct the problem he eventually lost control of the sled resulting in the tragic accident. The technical officials of the FIL were able to retrace the path of the athlete and concluded there was no indication that the accident was caused by deficiencies in the track.

Based on these findings the race director, in consultation with the FIL, made the decision to reopen the track following a raising of the walls at the exit of curve 16 and a change in the ice profile. This was done as a preventative measure, in order to avoid that such an extremely exceptional accident could occur again.

The FIL will resume men´s training Saturday morning with two full training runs prior to the competition taking place as scheduled at 17h00.

So if Kumaritashvili hadn't lost control of his luge he would have been okay. Talk about stating the bloody obvious. But if the wall had been higher and the metal beams not protruding the way they were then he wouldn't have hit them, ergo no fatality.

Any sliding track will see falls...that's a given. Therefore why leave the track more dangerous when someone does actually come off, at a higher speed than warranted or at a lower level of technical ability?

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Apparently it was a joint statement.

This just makes me angry.

Yes a joint statement but the IF officials are the ones who are making all the technical observations/judgements. As VANOC and the IOC effectively give the running of the sports over to the IFs then its the ILF who are doing the blaming...

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