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Olympic Athlete Dies - February 13th 2010, 01:18 AM

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/wire?...oly&id=4910296

A luger on the Georgian Olympic team has died today after he lost control on his 2nd practice run of the day. He lost control and flew off the track while going upwards of 140km/h and hit a metal beam that supports the roof of the track.

It's really sad, he was so close to fulfilling his dream.


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Re: Olympic Athlete Dies - February 13th 2010, 01:55 AM

it really is so sad, he was so young as well. i saw the video of it on youtube, it's horrible should be taken down really. all i can say is he did die doing what he loved, but i can't help but think there should have been some sort of crash mat or padding on those steel bars..?

very sad news though, awful way to start the games.


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Re: Olympic Athlete Dies - February 13th 2010, 02:17 AM

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Originally Posted by Elle. View Post
but i can't help but think there should have been some sort of crash mat or padding on those steel bars..?
You'd think so, but I wonder how much that would have even helped at those speeds. That'd be like getting hit by a car that's speeding on the highway, even with a crash mat I doubt he could have been saved.
But when they were designing it you'd think they'd think to themselves, "Oh hey, maybe these giant steel beams are a bit too close to be considered safe?"


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Re: Olympic Athlete Dies - February 13th 2010, 03:33 AM

That's so sad, especially with him being so young. An awful start to the Games.


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Re: Olympic Athlete Dies - February 13th 2010, 03:47 AM

That's so sad, I wonder if they are going to do something about the metal poles...


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Re: Olympic Athlete Dies - February 13th 2010, 03:55 AM

there was talk of the event being cancelled at first.. but that won't happen. i was watching the press conference and some journalist asked 'shouldn't you postpone the event until you've made amendments to make sure the course is safer?..' which is a valid point really, but i'm not sure what will happen.

it's apparently a notoriously fast and dangerous course.. :/


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Re: Olympic Athlete Dies - February 13th 2010, 04:02 AM

Oh my, I just saw the video on the news
He just went literally went though the poles... I am speechless those poles are too close the the ramp.


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Re: Olympic Athlete Dies - February 13th 2010, 04:25 AM

That's so sad. I saw the clip on the news and I was speechless. That track just looks dangerous to me. The poles are too close. I hope that when they do the actual event it's safer and no one else gets hurt or injured.


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Re: Olympic Athlete Dies - February 13th 2010, 04:29 AM

It is so sad! I feel for his family and friends, although he was doing waht he loved, It isnt fair. It shouldnt have happened in the first place.


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Re: Olympic Athlete Dies - February 13th 2010, 05:28 AM

They had a moment of silence for him in the opening ceremony tonight. It just amazes me that people go so far as to risk their lives for athletics. Some of the situations these people put themselves in look so dangerous to me. It has to take a lot of passion to do what people like him do, and you don't come across passion like that too often.

At least he made it to the Olympics, that's such an amazing accomplishment that so many athletes can't even ever imagine reaching. He's already won gold in my mind.





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Re: Olympic Athlete Dies - February 13th 2010, 05:32 AM

It's not so much that the sport is really dangerous (although it is), but the course they made for it for the 2010 Olympics was supposed to be the fastest built. It just seems to me like they're going for statistics and results and sacrificing safety. The same goes for the speed skating rink, it's supposed to be the fastest, and the downhill skiing this year is supposed to be the fastest. There were already questions raised as to the safety of the athletes participating in downhill skiing.


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Re: Olympic Athlete Dies - February 13th 2010, 05:59 AM

They showed the video on the news so I doubt it'll get taken off YouTube just because it shows someone dying, there's plenty worse on YouTube that's not taken down. But with that aside, I heard they're going to do investigations and other lugers have said the course is far too fast and difficult, and showed clips of other lugers tumbling out of their luges but no where near to the extent Kumaritshavili did. It really is an awful start to the Olympics, that and the fact that their indoor 4-legged cauldron thing didn't get 4 legs to rise, only 3. The performance was OK, some of the singing was great but overall, it wasn't exciting throughout. Combined with this death, it's getting off to a pretty low start so hopefully it picks up soon.

Supposedly they're going to do investigations but there were two things that bugged me about the luge track. First, wouldn't there be guidelines and codes to follow when building it? Wouldn't have building inspectors come in to verify everything is safe, secure, not too hard or goes too fast? Second, I think closing the track down because of what happened to Kumaritshavili would be premature. Supposing the track is deemed unsafe, there's no way to indicate the track caused the death because Kumaritshavili was in control of the luge, although the track certainly adds many factors. Third, it seems to me like they're only investigating it because of the death and I'm wondering, if the death did not occur but if other athletes voiced their concerns, would the track get investigated upon? I know this is more of an "if question" but there were concerns about it before and no investigations, only now the investigations occur. Lastly, depending on the investigation, they may not close the track or if they close it, they may just delay it and shift around the scheduling if possible. I don't see it being very likely it'll be closed for the entire games though. Luging is a dangerous sport and it has these types of risks involved.
   
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Re: Olympic Athlete Dies - February 13th 2010, 06:11 AM

That is so sad . And he was only 21.

I also saw the one minute silence on the opening ceremony.

My prays go to the family and friends.
   
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Re: Olympic Athlete Dies - February 13th 2010, 06:43 AM

This saddens me beyond words. I was quite upset when I heard the news report and saw the crash. I'm glad the Georgian team are staying to compete, they are very brave for doing so, to suffer that and then compete amogst the best athletes in the world...it's moving.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LaFin View Post
It's not so much that the sport is really dangerous (although it is), but the course they made for it for the 2010 Olympics was supposed to be the fastest built. It just seems to me like they're going for statistics and results and sacrificing safety. ... There were already questions raised as to the safety of the athletes participating in downhill skiing.
Questions were raised for athletes participating in the downhill skiing because of the rain in Whistler, it made for dangerous conditions, as did the fog on Thursday.

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Shortly before the accident, German coach and former Olympian George Hackl said he did not believe the track was dangerous.
“People have the opinion it is dangerous but the track crew does the best it can and they are working hard to make sure the track is in good shape and everyone is safe,” Hackl said. “My opinion is that it’s not anymore dangerous than anywhere else.”
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Originally Posted by NightOfNyx View Post
They had a moment of silence for him in the opening ceremony tonight. It just amazes me that people go so far as to risk their lives for athletics.
To be honest it's nothing new, skiing has always been a dangerous sport, with deaths and serious injury not that rare. I think the risk factor is what draws fans, partly, seeing people who have trained and fine-tuned their techniques for such sports, and compete for their country is quite something. Most of the public wouldn't consider trying a lot of the winter olympic events.

Quote:
The death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili was a result of the athlete losing control of his sled and not an unsafe track, the International Luge Federation said Friday night in a statement.
The men's singles luge competition will take place as scheduled at 5 p.m. PT on Saturday, after the completion of two practice runs. The luge federation did say that open it would raise the walls at the exit of curve 16 and shave down the ice, altering the sliding lines.

"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," the federation said in a statement. "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."


The accident happened near the end of the run, just before the point where the track starts to rise toward the finish. "Normally, not much should be able to happen" to the racer there, Udo Gurgel, who helped design the Whistler luge run, told German media.
Mr. Gurgel said he had developed six tracks and "nobody had ever come off the course. We now have to consider how we can alter the piste. At the exit areas, we could increase the height of the walls by some 40 to 50 centimetres."
Despite the federation's declaration of a safe track concerns were raised well beforehand about the 1,450-metre course, its 16 turns and the fact the track record (153.937 kilometres an hour) was broken five times here in training. U.S. and international athletes had complained they weren't given enough time to learn how to master the course, given the speed it generated. Shelley Rudman, a skeleton racer from Great Britain, said she barely had a chance to "get an idea what this track is all about.

Source: CTV Olympics website
Raising the walls by 50cm and having them go on for longer sounds like it would significantly reduce the risk, as well as altering the ice.

I doubt another track will be built that is this fast. A limit has been found, at the cost of a life. I'm confident they can alter the track correctly, the designers have a lot of calculations, computer models and simulations, and tracking that will help them do that. I just hope the training runs go well for the Luge athletes and their feedback on the track based on their runs are positive - only they can know how it feels, the live on these tracks.

I don't think it's our place to say it's dangerous or not, we have never been down a track, we just sit in front of the TV and watch the athletes hurtle past fixed cameras. =/
It's also a little soon to be asking questions, it seems disrespectful to me. I'd rather leave it to the Luge experts - designers, engineers and athletes.


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Re: Olympic Athlete Dies - February 13th 2010, 06:46 AM

Actually the downhill skiing thing was because they are using new suits that allow them to go at faster speeds than before, and higher speeds means increased risk of injury if and when there's an accident.


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Re: Olympic Athlete Dies - February 13th 2010, 06:55 AM

I saw the video on the news earlier. So sad and too young. The other competitors even thought it was dangerous.


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Re: Olympic Athlete Dies - February 13th 2010, 04:18 PM

I forgot to mention:

Quote:
An FIL spokesman said on Friday that at a recent international training week at Whistler Sliding Center, acknowledged as the fastest in the world, there had been 2,500 runs with only a three percent crash rate.

With over 5,000 runs since it was built.
Overnight turn 16 had a floor-to-roof wall built alongside the track, with an an extension where that wall drops down. It's now impossible to come out of the track and the floor-to-roof wall is a first in Luge. The track itself has been changed - the ice profile altered.
The men are now starting their training runs today, a forerunner has gone down the track to test it, they made a few more changes and the first athletes has just gone down, his top speed was 139 km/hr.
The start position has been moved a couple of hundred metres forward, and the men will now start at the women's start. That will bring the speed down by 10-15 km/hr, the previous record for the track last week was 155 km/hr, they now expect it to be around 140 km/hr. Unclear where the other events on the track will start (women, doubles).
Each of them, by the end of today, will have had 7 training runs on the track before the event. The most training runs ever for luge.


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Re: Olympic Athlete Dies - February 13th 2010, 05:09 PM

this is so sad




   
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Re: Olympic Athlete Dies - February 13th 2010, 05:14 PM

My dad says that they should have netting around the outside of the thing so that even if a person does fall off, they will just bounce back into the ice. I know they still hit the hard ice but it's better then slamming into a steel pole.
   
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Re: Olympic Athlete Dies - February 13th 2010, 05:44 PM

It's scary when people your age or younger dies, and I can't believe they showed the clip at all let alone on the news! They should have more respect for him than that. The lugers had been complaining for awhile that the track was unsafe and no one listened. I don't know if they're still going to compete on this thing, but it sounds like it. I guess the only reason they didn't pad the poles was that they never thought this could happen, but they should've been over-cautious.


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Re: Olympic Athlete Dies - February 13th 2010, 07:58 PM

well on the t.v. they showed how they've amended the track. they've basically changed it so the men start at the womens gate, so their course is shorter and they won't get up to as faster speed.. also they've boarded it up so they cannot fall out of the course if they fly up.

should have been boarding there from the beginning really. :/


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Re: Olympic Athlete Dies - February 13th 2010, 07:58 PM

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I guess the only reason they didn't pad the poles was that they never thought this could happen, but they should've been over-cautious.
Padding or netting wouldn't have done it. Hitting padding around a pole at 144 km/hr wouldn't do much for the impact. The only option is a wall they can slide along and drop back into the track. I think their solution is the best available.
Netting would have been like a cheese grater a that speed...the force of the collision would be over 3,000 newtons I believe. =/
The last luger who died was in 1964, also training before the start of the Olympics.

They wouldn't have opened the track had it not passed rigorous testing beforehand, you can't plan for a freak accident like that. I think it's foolish to try and blame anyone/anything, or criticise without any relevant expertise. The cause was the athlete leaving the turn late (thus being too high), he couldn't compensate for it in time, considering the speed he was going. Luge is an extreme sport, there's a high-risk involved and a lot of the athletes enjoy the adrenalin rush from it and some are disappointed that they now on a slower track. Athletes are fully aware of the risks. Trying to blame someone for this is like trying to blame someone for the murder of an individual who was alone when they died.
I think the family are distraught enough without the media plugging away at the story creating allsorts of views regarding who is to blame - the answer is nobody. The athlete couldn't correct in time, it's nobody's fault, but then, that wouldn't make for an interesting fucking story for the media, no, they have to get the audience buzzing....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elle. View Post
should have been boarding there from the beginning really. :/
If they could see this happening I'm sure it would have been there...


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Re: Olympic Athlete Dies - February 13th 2010, 08:06 PM

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Padding or netting wouldn't have done it. Hitting padding around a pole at 144 km/hr wouldn't do much for the impact. The only option is a wall they can slide along and drop back into the track. I think their solution is the best available.
Netting would have been like a cheese grater a that speed...the force of the collision would be over 3,000 newtons I believe. =/
The last luger who died was in 1964, also training before the start of the Olympics.

They wouldn't have opened the track had it not passed rigorous testing beforehand, you can't plan for a freak accident like that. I think it's foolish to try and blame anyone/anything, or criticise without any relevant expertise. The cause was the athlete leaving the turn late (thus being too high), he couldn't compensate for it in time, considering the speed he was going. Luge is an extreme sport, there's a high-risk involved and a lot of the athletes enjoy the adrenalin rush from it and some are disappointed that they now on a slower track. Athletes are fully aware of the risks. Trying to blame someone for this is like trying to blame someone for the murder of an individual who was alone when they died.
I think the family are distraught enough without the media plugging away at the story creating allsorts of views regarding who is to blame - the answer is nobody. The athlete couldn't correct in time, it's nobody's fault, but then, that wouldn't make for an interesting fucking story for the media, no, they have to get the audience buzzing....



If they could see this happening I'm sure it would have been there...
well they should have realised that it wasn't safe enough. it doesn't take a genius to work out that you shouldn't have a metal platform right next to the track with no boarding or padding covering it..


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Re: Olympic Athlete Dies - February 13th 2010, 08:17 PM

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well they should have realised that it wasn't safe enough. it doesn't take a genius to work out that you shouldn't have a metal platform right next to the track with no boarding or padding covering it..
Any such concerns would have been brought up in during safety checks. You can't plan for freak accidents like that, coming out of the corner late is very dangerous, but it's something that has never happened before. How can someone plan for something that's previously thought of as impossible?


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Re: Olympic Athlete Dies - February 15th 2010, 09:13 PM

Very sad start to the Olympics - my thoughts and prayers remain with him and his family.

It was obviously a freak accident, and the luge has always carried a certain amount of risk. However, although I am no expert by any means in this area, I feel the safety precautions taken with regard to turn 16 were inadequate. For one thing, having the wall dip so low after the fastest turn on the run (90mph predicted speed) - and particularly having exposed steel girders in the gap - seems to me to be a very questionable design choice. I can understand the need for access in the event of an accident, but I feel there should have been more of a margin for error and the barrier above the ice wall should have been at least 50cm higher or fully enclosed. Granted, hitting the wall would not have been much of an improvement in terms of injuries sustained, but it would have deflected the athlete back onto the ice run and sent him sliding along the ice, so the kinetic energy/G-force would have been more gradual. Netting would also have been suitable as long as it had sufficient flexibility - they use it for downhill skiing, after all, and they're not going much slower. In contrast, hitting the girder and coming to a stop at such speeds would have pushed the G-force into the hundreds, and that is in most cases beyond human survival. Kumaritashvili may still have sustained serious injury with a higher barrier, but the odds are he would have survived.

Obviously there is the question of whether they could have predicted an accident of this kind - and as with the death of Henry Surtees in a Formula Two race last year, the answer is probably "Not really". However, to say that it was impossible for an athlete to leave the course at that point sounds to me to be overstating the odds somewhat. With speeds of 90mph+ involved, an incident on what is effectively a streamlined tobogan has any number of possible outcomes, and I would be surprised if lugers have not been thrown into the air before. I'm reasonably sure it's happened with athletes in the skeleton before, which isn't that different. When you're designing a facility like this, you need to undertake risk assessments to determine every possible eventuality, even if there is no real solution and simply an acknowledgement of the risk. Considering the work undertaken after the crash to alter the barriers and install padding, I'm not convinced there was such an acknowledgement. In any case, that's an issue for the courts to rule upon if any complaint is raised.

The most important thing to take from this is that it will have an effect on how tracks are designed and the safety regulations for the luge from now onwards, which is a positive. Other athletes (including one former gold medallist in the women's event) had crashes during training, veteran Ruben Gonzalez has gone back into retirement as a result of the crash, and both present and former competitors have raised concerns about safety. These are all people who have been willing to take the inherent risks, so that to my mind says a lot. You cannot prevent every risk in a sport like the luge, or many other sports for that matter, and it would be naive and foolish to believe you can. At the same time, a high risk of death in the event of a mistake (as was the case for Kumaritashvili) is not acceptable. Lessons have clearly been learned, but to my mind it is tragic that it took an athlete dying to highlight it.

RIP Nodar.

Last edited by dr2005; February 16th 2010 at 09:44 AM.
   
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Re: Olympic Athlete Dies - February 15th 2010, 10:11 PM

His father told the news stations that his son was scared of the track, so his fear could have played a part in it really.

All said and done it is a terrible thing that happened. Hopefully in the future nothing like this will happen again and hopefully if it does it wont be broadcasted over the frickin news!

How disrespectful.


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Re: Olympic Athlete Dies - February 16th 2010, 04:39 AM

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Originally Posted by SilasLoveツ View Post
His father told the news stations that his son was scared of the track, so his fear could have played a part in it really.

All said and done it is a terrible thing that happened. Hopefully in the future nothing like this will happen again and hopefully if it does it wont be broadcasted over the frickin news!

How disrespectful.
Why is it disrespectful? I think it'd be disrespectful if they didn't show what happened so the tragedy could be fully understood and appreciated. Besides, the video didn't have any open wounds or showing him die, it simply showed the accident so people could understand what happened. Wouldn't fellow lugers of different teams and even other Olympic athletes want to know what exactly happened? It's a tragedy and by not showing it, it downplays what happened.
   
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Re: Olympic Athlete Dies - February 16th 2010, 04:44 AM

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Originally Posted by !!!YOU'RE$NUCKING$FUTZ!!! View Post
Why is it disrespectful? I think it'd be disrespectful if they didn't show what happened so the tragedy could be fully understood and appreciated. Besides, the video didn't have any open wounds or showing him die, it simply showed the accident so people could understand what happened. Wouldn't fellow lugers of different teams and even other Olympic athletes want to know what exactly happened? It's a tragedy and by not showing it, it downplays what happened.
I disagree. What if your grandmother had a heart attack, and someone video taped it and posted it all over the internet?

I feel terrible for the family. Not only did their son die, but now his death is plastered everywhere. It's not right. There's a fine line between 'downplay' and disrespect.


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Re: Olympic Athlete Dies - February 16th 2010, 03:29 PM

If you died would you want everyone watching it?


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Re: Olympic Athlete Dies - February 16th 2010, 04:07 PM

It's similar to the laws in some states that regulate the public release and airing of 911 calls of celebrities. The laws basically say it's a violation of privacy, so you could say it's a violation of his family's privacy to show it as well as disrespectful to him because that's all we'll remember about him. It's one thing for the officials/safety inspectors to know what went wrong, the public doesn't need to see it.


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