12 February 2010

So anyway, I'm a little confused...

...as tragic as this may be... I was under the impression that you had to scrape & claw your way to the top... before you could even get near competing in an Olympic event.

"I think they are pushing it a little too much," Australia's Hannah Campbell-Pegg said Thursday 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?"
So c'mon, Hannah... we're talkin' about, what..."involuntary luge?"
And, in truth, that's all too easy for me to imagine... because that's the only possible way I'd ever find myself on a 23 kilogram (50 lb.) sled travelling 150 kilometers (90 mph) per hour down a freakin' mountain.

The thing is, I've actually broken a ton (100 mph) on a 600 lb. motorcycle... and believe you me... for the non-professional... even that can be a bowel-loosening experience.

Again... this incident is simply about personal responsibility.

I will defend your right to luge, or parachute, or even shoot up heroin... but if, in the process, you turn your cerebral cortex into applesauce... don't be whining about somebody else being responsible.

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RELATED: Guess what... shit happens
"It seems that Olympic Games deaths, while uncommon, are more likely to occur during Winter Games. In fact in 1964, the very first year that the luge was admitted as an official Olympic sport, it suffered its first fatality, the death of Polish luger Kazimierz Kay-Skrzypecki."
And so it goes.

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UPDATE: Looks like pilot error
"The decision to go ahead was taken after probes by local coroners and the International Luge Federation (FIL)."

"Officials concluded the track was not unsafe but that the athlete "did not compensate properly" going into a bend."
Okay, Hannah... your move.

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UPDATE2: So, it was driver error...

...but we're gonna slow it up anyway...
FIL and VANOC officials announced the men would begin racing from the lower women's start and that the wall where Kumaritashvili crashed after flying off the track at a speed of close to 144 kilometres per hour would be raised. The ice profile was also altered so the athletes and their sleds would be pushed to the middle of the track.
There's no admission of wrong-doing here... but with a dead athlete, I guess they have to pump the brakes.
"In terms of track access, we lived up to (FIL) observations and surpassed them. We offered additional training for smaller nations on Jan. 1," he said. "The number of runs was agreed upon by the National federations. From a safety perspective, we felt confident we got the right number of runs for the teams."

Two months ago, FIL officials said future sliding tracks should limit speeds to 137 kmh. Whistler has been sending athletes down its icy pitch at a speed of 155 kmh. Romstad said there have been 5,000 runs held here over the last two years and the "crash ratio" remains low at 3 per cent
So, raise the wall in this one corner? That sounds like a good idea.

But... on the day the event opens... they're gonna alter the profile of the track everybody has been practising on? That sounds like a potential safety hazard.

Two final observations here.

There's a woman's starting line? Isn't that sexist & condescending?

Two... would it have really mattered if Nodar Kumaritashvili had been going 137 kph instead of 144?

Call me wacky... but I'm gonna go with no.


34 comments:

Ted Betts said...

Tragic tragic event.

I suspect the comment had something to do with the complaints about this site that started up a while ago, beginning with complaints that non-Canadians were given very minimal time to practice (about 10x less than Canadians) and that giving home advantages to the home nation is fine for ordinary stuff but less so for high speed dangerous activities.

It would also most certainly have to do with the fact that athletes rely upon the testing and re-testing and certifying and re-certifying done by not just VANOC but the Olympic committees of each luge country.

When death is actually pretty rare in this sport, I don't think it can be shluffed off so easily as blaming the victim for not taking personal responsibility.

Neo Conservative said...

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ted betts says... blaming the victim for not taking personal responsibility."

but ted... who's blaming the victim? you're sounding like the mindless left-bots who start screaming racism every time someone says something critical about president mcdreamy & his political agenda.

the fact is... it appears as though nodar kumaritashvili was willing to take full responsibility for his life... even though it ended up killing him.

it's australian hannah campbell-pegg who's talking about being a "crash test dummy" who is "being thrown" down the track.

so please, do me a favour... take your nonsensical "blaming the victim" b.s. over to liblogs... i'm sure they'll luv you long time.

everybody will be happier... and in your 'buy the world a coke' fantasy... isn't that the best of all possible outcomes?

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Ted Betts said...

My my. Getting cranky on a Friday.

"this incident is simply about personal responsibility."

Seems pretty clear you are indeed saying this death is his own fault, or "personal responsibility" as you put it.

Go buy yourself a coke, bud. And put a dash or two of rum in it. Seems like you need to unclench a bit.

Bec said...

Our twin grandsons, were invited by one of the Olympic diving coaches to become 'elite athletes' when they were 8.
They were told of the risk to their health and given every safety measure, every single one. Their parents and family supported the coaching team and the boys, excelled.

Finances, stopped their progression, not fear. In order to eventually compete internationally, you need to train in the best venues in the world and although we have superb facilites in Canada, it doesn't end there, financially.

This young man, had a tragic and fatal accident as did the diver in the 83 World University Games. It was then that Sergei Chalibashvili hit his head on the 5 metre board.
I will never forget that day.

My heart goes out to the entire Olympic family and especially his family but it would not ever stop a dedicated competitor. They are intoxicated with their passion.

Anonymous said...

Neo... does Ted's usual huggey touchy not responsible for my own actions bullshit surprise you?

Rob C

Neo Conservative said...

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"ted tries to skew the conversation... Getting cranky on a Friday."

cranky, ted? not at all.

and blaming the victim? where exactly do you get that?

as i've already said above... "kumaritashvili was willing to take full responsibility for his life"... i'm not sure how i could make that any clearer.

is it that rum & coke thing that's blurring your comprehension, my friend... or are you simply being purposely obstreporous?

whatever the motivation... it doesn't make the grade.

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maryT said...

This was a tragic accident and reports say he lost control of his sled.
I wonder what will be going thru the mind of the first luger to go down after this accident.

Ted Betts said...

Beer is my preferred drink, neo.

And taking personal responsibility is absolutely something I think is crucial.

But this is not a case of that. In many sports and other risky endeavours, you enter knowing the risks and in doing so you may have to rely on the work of others. In this particular case, you rely on experts telling you that the track is within normal safety parameters. You take your life into your own hands, knowing those risks.

But what if others were not doing their job and a job that you couldn't do yourself?

No kumbaya here, at all. No passing the buck though either. If you want to talk responsibility, then mean it.

"this incident is simply about personal responsibility."

And you claim it is the luger's. And all I'm saying is it doesn't stop there, bud.

You need a another fill-up.

Neo Conservative said...

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"ted asks... But what if others were not doing their job and a job that you couldn't do yourself?"

ah, ted... spoken like the lawyer that you are. say... you haven't spoken to the kumaritashvili family already, have you? or is this unspecified "negligence" theory something you've kept to yourself?

but then, this is a silly sort of game, isn't it? i mean, for instance... i could take a turn... "what if aliens came down & sabotaged the track?"

as for another "fill-up"... i'm afraid i'm pretty much teetotal these days.

thanks, though, for caring enough to ask.

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Anonymous said...

The problem is that this guy was not qualified to do the luge. Look at pictures of him looking up as he goes down the hill, look at the feet position. I've watched a lot of luge and the guys form stank, he is marginal for this sport at best. On the other hand the hill is glare ice because Vancouver area has not had snow in ages, when they agreed to host the Olympics people questioned them for this reason alone: no snow. You need snow on the hill not ice. Also the course, at that turn as it goes into straight away it goes from curved corner to square boxed corner where it appears this guy because he lacks control caught an edge which sent him flying. There has to be a wall, net or padding on those square steel posts. He hit his freaking head right on the edge, just like a knife edge! See the doctor with the scope looking into his eyes seeing if the 'lights are still on in there.' Shame, the leftards will make this olympics a disgrace for Canada. (real conservative)

Bec said...

Often the most successful, embrace their life with healthy and fulfilling risk, whether it be physical or otherwise.

Honour that in this young man, obviously HE did.

The Psycho babble and blame game is tiresome, good grief!

Bec said...

RC, the Luge IS an ice type track, not snow.

Neo Conservative said...

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"bec says... The Psycho babble and blame game is tiresome"

too true.

but facts are facts. for instance, who said...

"To what extent are we just little lemmings that they just throw down a track and we're crash-test dummies?"

hint: it wasn't me... or nodar kumaritashvili.

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Bec said...

I hear you, Neo! We are in the same camp.

Anonymous said...

Bec, sorry you are not correct, the luge is not supposed to be a glare ice track at all. (real conservative)

Anonymous said...

I was thinking the same thing on my way home after hearing this on the radio all day. While I feel for the luger, his family, and teammates, I think it's safe to expect the odd death given that participants are nearing 150KPH on a sled. It shouldn't be such a surprise and based on what I've seen on TV for the past hour, I fear I may lose interest in the whole show if the media keeps this up much longer, interviewing anyone and everyone from doctors to athletes to everyman.

Neo Conservative said...

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"anon says... interviewing anyone and everyone from doctors to athletes to everyman."

yup... same deal with the williams killing thing. if i hear one more soundbite about how "shocked" or "grief-stricken" the community is... i think i'm gonna scream.

it's a tragedy... but no more so than the pediatric cancer care ward at kgh.

and call me cynical, but truth be told... a goodly part of this supposed grief is simply people gossiping with complete strangers... like visiting tv shmucks from the big smoke.

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Anonymous said...

"shouldn't be such a surprise and based on what I've seen on TV for the past hour, I fear I may lose interest in the whole show if the media keeps this up much longer, interviewing anyone and everyone from doctors to athletes to everyman."

What a self-centred prick you are.

The last time there was a death at the winter Olympics was in 1960. I'm not sure there has ever been a top level luge death.

So spare us your pretend "I feel for them" BS. Obviously you don't. So very sorry for the fact that this tragedy has interfered with your enjoyment of the Olympics. What a tragedy for you.

Ted Betts said...

"ah, ted... spoken like the lawyer that you are. say... you haven't spoken to the kumaritashvili family already, have you? or is this unspecified "negligence" theory something you've kept to yourself"

And there you have it. Ha!

Lose an argument, take a conservative-style personal cheap shot.

What took you so long this time, Neo? Too many Friday afternoon cocktails?

Blame Crash said...

The real controversy here is “who the #%&!$ built a row of columns beside this track!”.

I can guarantee you that the Designers, the Architects, The Engineers, The Constructors and the IOC have been in meeting all day long strategizing their response to this flagrant boondoggle of theirs.

Putting all that aside for now, what must be done is to frame up the opening between these columns and cover them with PVC sheeting. Either that or they let it happen again.

Anonymous said...

Real

No, you cannot allow people to kill themselves when you know the risk. That is not sport. We are living in times that are crazy. What about the personal responsibility of the people who design, maintain, and implement that course. Not even any padding on that metal pole, are you kidding? There is personal responsibility here all right and it has nothing to do with the heart or responsibility of that Olympian. The Vancouver games are cursed by Hubris, hot the Wisdom of the Ancient Games. Absolutely mind boggling. You have athletes such as the Australian Hannah Campbell-Pegg telling the organizers that the conditions are deadly and no one does anything?

They ought to give her all the gold medals and call off this years Winter Olympics. Her courage to speak up is the medal of a true Olympian. She is my hero.

Anonymous said...

"What a self-centred prick you are."

Wow.

Feeling empathy or not for the family and teammates of the luger has absolutely nothing to do with my opinion of how the media handles this. For me personally, I don't care what Catriona Lemay Doan thinks about it, nor do I have to enjoy listening about it ad nauseum, which was the point I was trying to make. Does sitting in front of the TV watching them rehash and opinion-seek somehow make me a better person?

Neo Conservative said...

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"ted snarks... Lose an argument, take a conservative-style personal cheap shot."

you mean like, well... you ted?

"...blaming the victim..."

"...put a dash or two of rum in it. Seems like you need to unclench a bit..."

"...You need a another fill-up..."

"...Too many Friday afternoon cocktails..."

yeah ted... it's on me, huh? i love it.

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natasha said...

You have athletes such as the Australian Hannah Campbell-Pegg telling the organizers that the conditions are deadly and no one does anything?

What about athletes like Canadian bobsledder Chris Lori? -- "The area where the accident occurred on this track is not considered to be that dangerous..."

It's about choosing to participate in a very dangerous sport. No one is holding a gun to their heads and forcing them to hurtle themselves down a mountain. Her comment about the athletes themselves being lemmings, well that says a lot about the athletes, doesn't it (I assume she's referring to the "mass suicide myth").

Neo Conservative said...

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"anon says... The last time there was a death at the winter Olympics was in 1960. I'm not sure there has ever been a top level luge death."

nonny... read slower...

"In fact in 1964, the very first year that the luge was admitted as an official Olympic sport, it suffered its first fatality, the death of Polish luger Kazimierz Kay-Skrzypecki."

look... you can put padding on the columns... or bubble-wrap the entire course, etc, etc... but the fact is, the human body isn't designed to go from 100 mph to a dead (no pun intended) stop under any circumstances.

if hannah campbell-pegg truly believes she's being used as a crash test dummy by some mysterious cabal... she should drop her rig and get on the first plane to oz.

if you choose to participate in an activity... especially at an elite level... you have to be willing to (ted, cover your ears) accept the consequences... as in accept personal responsibility.

actions, my friends... have consequences.

you get that... right?

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The Grey Lady said...

O.K> I am about to go against the grain here, but when you have the group that built the thing and the group that O.K.'d the thing for the athletes investigate themselves to see if they were wrong and actually have to admit that they made an error? Come on, just how sheeple and compliant do you have to be to accept that "No we did nothing wrong" on face value.

Human error? Of course they are pushing for human error, they make it challenging to induce human error, but they failed to protect against the consequences of said hoped for Human error. It is a natural consequence of the challenging course they designed and implemented.

Yes these courses are supposed to be challenging, yes they are supposed to push the participants to the max, to a point where they risk a razors edge of talent, gutz and fingers crossed. But come on, basic physics and protection of possible points of exit due to the degree of difficulty seem to have been ignored here.

Neo Conservative said...

"grey lady says... have to admit that they made an error"

hmmm... didn't hear that.

what i heard was... "Officials concluded the track was not unsafe but that the athlete "did not compensate properly" going into a bend."

the fact is, for all the talk of dangerous track... the place where kumaritashvili was killed wasn't even previously identified as a possible problem section. now, i understand they raised the wall along this section of track... but, let's face it, that's just reactive p.r.

my guess is, you're jettin' along on a metal frame... 4 inches above solid ice at 150 kph... there are plenty of places... you sneeze... you die.

if safety is actually the "highest priority" here... might i suggest a safer activity than luge... like, maybe bullfighting... or firing yourself out of a cannon?

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Frances said...

They had an 'expert' on CBC radio calling the young man an 'Olympic tourist'. According to said expert, young Nodar was not that experienced and was only at the Olympics because the rules limit the number of athletes a country can send in a given sport, to three. If I remember correctly, this expert referenced Germany, which has 'real' lugers and could qualify eight no problem. Since they could only send three, that opens room for those from other countries. So Nodar, although qualified, did not have sufficient experience to make the necessary correction when he got into trouble.

That being said, there is apparently a real concern about the design of this particular course, and it's not just the 'lower end' athletes who have concerns. Perhaps the track is truly unforgiving.

Granted, you have a personal responsibility to decide if you are going to participate in a particular sport, but you are also having to trust that the designers, builders, and operators of the facility are doing their job. We all saw that in downhill skiing, where successive 'improvements' in course design meant increasingly faster runs with serious crashes, and increased risk to skiiers and onlookers alike. Only then did the design of safety barriers become an issue; we all see the nets now which have improved safety in another hazardous sport.

On another note, if the course is that unforgiving, of what use will it be after the Olympics. If only the top lugers can use it safely, then it's going to be unused for most of the time as the juniors will be elsewhere.

Neo Conservative said...

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i've never rode on a motorcycle in my life. my alter-ego "neo" has though. he's also flown to the moon and has a neato treehouse in the backyard.

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Neo Conservative said...

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so ted... i'm gonna give you the benefit of the doubt... and assume it isn't you who forges comments like the one above @8:57 am.

but tell me, oh compassionate, intellectual one... why is it that so many of your confreres resort to childish tactics like this?

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Ted Betts said...

Not me.

Wouldn't know how and couldn't be bothered if I did.

A bit weird and obsessive-like though, to be sure.

Must have a nut loose to think you're worth that much time out of a long weekend.

Neo Conservative said...

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a long weekend, ted?

this little crew of pottymouth pinkos ends up here a dozen times on a good day.

drive-by trolling... it's what you compassionate, intellectual lefties do best.

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Ted Betts said...

"drive-by trolling... it's what you compassionate, intellectual lefties do best.

I wouldn't call what I do "drive-by trolling", would you????

But to think that wankers on the left have a lock on being obsessive nobs, well, sometimes I can't tell whether you just like yanking my chain, are naive or just plain blind to your wankers and nobs of your own side.

For my par, as that awful song from my youth goes (the one I still can't get out of my head) "people are people wherever you go". I realized long long ago that it isn't politics or ideology that makes wankers and nobs, it's partisanship and that the world is actually not coloured black and white. Some take longer than that.

Neo Conservative said...

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"ted says... I can't tell whether you just like yanking my chain, are naive or just plain blind to your wankers and nobs of your own side"

ted... are you saying you can top "liberal supporter" or "martin/martine"?

i mean, seriously...

"psst..Know what Neo honey, I'm actually a woman. Know what else? I think you're creepy."
Posted by Martin to halls of macadamia at 2:04 PM, April 17, 2009"


please supply the relevant urls.

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