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Nodar Kumaritashvili

February 12, 2010

I’m sure that by now several of you have heard the news about 21-year-old Nodar Kumaritashvili’s death today while training for the luge. His death comes a few hours before tonight’s much anticipated opening ceremonies, which will surely seem over the top in light of the tragedy.

Videos have been making the rounds on websites such as Huffington Post and YouTube, but the IOC is smartly working hard to take them down.

According to NBCOlympics.com, “[it] was Kumaritashvili’s second crash during training for the Vancouver Games. He also failed to finish his second of six practice runs, and in the runs he did finish, his average speed was about 88 mph – significantly less than the speed the top sliders are managing on this lightning-fast course.”

The course is already being described as extremely dangerous, and the track is being seen as a death trap by others who are basically going down something like this blindly for the first time.

Australia’s Hannah Campbell-Pegg has said, “I think they are pushing it a little too much. To what extent are we just little lemmings that they just throw down a track and we’re crash-test dummies? I mean, this is our lives.”

Even more prepared countries like the US and Canada who have been able to train on similar courses, have been crashing.

Georgia is indicating that they may not attend not only the opening ceremonies, but the entire Olympic games as well. Luge (and skeleton) are extreme sports and can be seen as death-defying, and I’m aware that the lesser-watched sports are doing all they can to bring in more attention, but at what cost?

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