...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.So c'mon, Hannah... we're talkin' about, what..."involuntary luge?"
"To what extent are we just little lemmings that they just throw down a track and we're crash-test dummies?"
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.
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.
UPDATE: Looks like pilot error
"The decision to go ahead was taken after probes by local coroners and the International Luge Federation (FIL)."Okay, Hannah... your move.
"Officials concluded the track was not unsafe but that the athlete "did not compensate properly" going into a bend."
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."So, raise the wall in this one corner? That sounds like a good idea.
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
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.