Olympic luger dies in training-run crash - Olympic Sports- nbcsports.msnbc.com
Photo in article is slightly disturbing....
WHISTLER, British Columbia - IOC president Jacques Rogge says his organization is “in deep mourning” following the death of a Georgian luger.
Nodar Kumaritashvili died after a crash during training on the treacherous Whistler Sliding Center course. He went over the track wall and struck an unpadded steel pole on the final turn.
Before speaking at a news conference, Rogge took off his glasses, rubbed his eyes and said, “Sorry, it’s a bit difficult to remain composed.” He says this is not the time to talk about investigations.
Vancouver organizing chief John Furlong said, “We are heartbroken beyond words.”
Rogge said he spoke with the president of the Republic of Georgia to express his sympathy. Rogge said the Georgian delegation has not decided whether to remain in the competition.
Doctors were unable to revive the 21-year-old luger, who died at a hospital, the International Olympic Committee said.
Rescue workers were at Kumaritashvili's side within seconds. Chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation started less than one minute after the crash, and he was quickly airlifted to a trauma center in Whistler.
Kumaritashvili struck the inside wall of the track on the final turn. His body immediately went airborne and cleared the ice-coated concrete wall along the left side of the sliding surface. His sled remained in the track, and it appeared his helmet visor skidded down the ice.
Men's luge competition is to begin Saturday. It's unclear if the schedule will change.
Kumaritashvili is the fourth competitor to die at the Winter Games and the first since 1992.
"It's a very rare situation," three-time Olympic champion and German coach Georg Hackl said before learning of the death, clearly shaken after seeing Kumaritashvili tended to furiously by medical workers.
Shortly before the accident, Hackl said he didn't believe the track was unsafe.
"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," he said. "My opinion is that it's not anymore dangerous that anywhere else."
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.
It was unclear how fast Kumaritashvili was going, although many sliders have exceeded 90 mph on this course. The track is considered the world's fastest and several Olympians recently questioned its safety. More than a dozen athletes have crashed during Olympic training for luge, and some questioned whether athletes from smaller nations - like Georgia - had enough time to prepare for the daunting track.
At the finish area, not far from where Kumaritashvili lost control, athletes, coaches and officials solemnly awaited word on Kumaritashvili before eventually being ushered away. Access to the crash area was closed within about 30 minutes.
"I've never seen anything like that," said Shiva Keshavan, a four-time Olympian from India.