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Olympian Dies During Luge Training Run

Olympian Dies During Luge Training Run

I am completely stunned and incredibly saddened to write that Olympic athlete representing the Republic of Georgia Nodar Kumaritashvili, 21, died after crashing during a training run on the luge course in Vancouver earlier today. Here are details on the crash from the NBC Olympics website:

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 . . . 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.

The controversial Olympic luge track is considered the fastest in the world, and after a number of crashes during practice runs, many athletes have questioned the safety of the course. With many sledders topping 90 miles per hour on the course, it is still unclear how fast Kumaritashvili was going at the time of his crash. Training on the course has been suspended, and a meeting has been called by the International Luge Federation and "team captains from each nation were asked to attend" the briefing.

Our hearts go out to Kumaritashvili's family, friends, and teammates.

Image Source: Getty
Join The Conversation
inlove23 inlove23 7 years
It's so sad
TheLittleMonster TheLittleMonster 7 years
Were the images shown on tv, Rigatoni?! I was away from the computer/tv all day so I just found out about this. This is horrible in every way. He was so young and in his prime. I hope that this tragedy serves to improve the safety of these athletes.
Rigatoni Rigatoni 7 years
This is beyond sad, but should not have been shown on TV. There was NO reason to broadcast those gruesome images around the country/ world. He should certainly be remembered throughout the games, but it seems extremely tasteless and disrespectful to me that they repeatedly showed videos and photographs of his death. He was only months older than I am. I cannot comprehend the pain his family must feel. He should be remembered respectfully for who he was, not how he died.
Spectra Spectra 7 years
Oh my gosh, how horrible! My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends. That is a horrible way to die...hopefully the Olympic committee will ramp up the safety features on the track so this doesn't happen again.
chillchic chillchic 7 years
Very sad. God bless his soul and may his family find peace.
kia kia 7 years
This is so tragic for Nodar Kumaritashvili, his family and friends, the Georgian team and the Olympics in general.
xtinabeena xtinabeena 7 years
this is so so sad. :-(
Soniabonya Soniabonya 7 years
;-; heartbreaking. On the day he's supposed to be walking in the opening ceremony too. I saw some pictures online as well. No padding, low wall, nothing that would have prevented this with the current structure. Terrible. The Republic of Georgia has been through so much over the years. . . I'll keep his family, teammates and country in my prayers.
ticamorena ticamorena 7 years
This is so sad, my prayers go out to his family and team-mates. I love watching sports, and am generally of the view that the authorities for the individual activities and the competitions do the most that they can to ensure the safety of competitors, but it can be so difficult to balance the audiences', competitors' (and punters') needs for new records and greater achievements with the safety of those involved. FINA, for instance, had to introduce rules to prevent swimmers trying to swim the majority of the length of a pool underwater withouth coming up for breath, which unsurprisingly would lead to oxygen starvation and swimmers passing out.
syako syako 7 years
This is just terrible news. My thoughts and prayers to his family.
mamasitamalita mamasitamalita 7 years
so tragic
magalaya magalaya 7 years
This is so sad :( As for the safety of the course, I think this really serves as a testament to the fact that they need to ramp up the safety features of it as soon as possible. There are pictures of the crash online, and he just totally completely flew off the track - there were no barriers of any kind anywhere, and the one wall he flew over was really low. I am all for pushing the limits, but within reason - all precautionary measures should be in place to try to ensure that all athletes participating are at minimal risk of getting seriously injured.
katie_c katie_c 7 years
that's heartbreaking...
misskacie misskacie 7 years
Oh my gosh, how awful; and on such an amazing day for him, too. Deepest sympathies to his family, friends and teammates. The opening ceremonies will definitely have a tone of solemnity tonight. :(
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