Death on ice mars opening

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Georgian luger dies in horrific training crash

Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili has died in a horrific Olympic training run on the eve of the Games opening, flying off a high-speed track that has wasted little time showing its teeth.

The 21-year-old lost control of his sled near the finish Friday, went over the track wall and rocketed into a support pole near the finish line at the Whistler Sliding Centre.

Nodar Kumaritashvili of Georgia is seen being given chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation after crashing during a training run for the men's singles luge at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics in Whistler, British Columbia, Friday. - Photo by The As

WHISTLER, B.C. -

Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili has died in a horrific Olympic training run on the eve of the Games opening, flying off a high-speed track that has wasted little time showing its teeth.

The 21-year-old lost control of his sled near the finish Friday, went over the track wall and rocketed into a support pole near the finish line at the Whistler Sliding Centre.

The Georgian was coming around the final 270-degree turn on the lightning-fast course, where top sliders have exceeded 145 km/h, when he flipped off his sled and was hurled like a missile into one of the thick metal pillars that supports the canopy above the finish area.

The slider, a blur in his black-and-blue racing suit and white helmet went high in the corner, banking left. His sled swooped out from under him, hit the inside wall and the Georgian flew through the air, turning backwards as he launched into the square support stanchion lining the outside of the track.

There was a collective gasp on the finish dock from officials and athletes as the crash was beamed on the large-screen TVs.

The screens were immediately turned off as crews raced down the track to the stricken racer.

The track is considered the fastest in the world. For some athletes, it's too fast.

The luge competition was scheduled to begin Saturday. There was no immediate word if the men's singles event would be postponed.

Kumaritashvili, a relatively inexperienced luger, had competed in five World Cup races this season, finishing 44th in the world standings.

It was Kumaritashvili's second crash during training for the Vancouver Games. He also failed to finish his second of six practice runs.

The shocking crash cast a pall on the Games, which had been gearing up for a worldwide opening ceremony celebration to be beamed live from B.C. Place. Instead top officials found themselves offering condolences.

In a statement, the IOC confirmed the death "with great regret," saying "doctors were unable to revive the athlete, who died in hospital."

"Our first thoughts are with the family, friends and colleagues of the athlete. The whole Olympic family is struck by this tragedy which clearly casts a shadow over these Games," said International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge.

Added VANOC CEO John Furlong: "We are deeply struck by this tragedy and join the IOC in extending our condolences to the family, friends and teammates of the athlete, who came to Vancouver to follow his Olympic dream."

VANOC officials issued a release saying an investigation was taking place to "ensure a safe field of play." Training was cancelled and members of the International Luge Federation were called for a briefing with team captains from each nation asked to attend a meeting.

"This is a terrible accident," said Josef Fendt, president of the International Luge Federation. "This is the very gravest thing that can happen in sport, and our thoughts and those of the luge family, are naturally with those touched by this event."

Medics were seen performing mouth to mouth on the Georgian, his helmet still on, face up on the cement beside the track and the ambulance. Track officials then ordered all bystanders away.

Medics administered CPR to a bloodied Kumaritashvili before he was lifted into an ambulance. An air-rescue helicopter arrived some eight minutes after the crash. The slider was taken to a medical facility at the athletes village south of Whistler.

Video of the crash was soon posted on YouTube - and pulled down for TV rights violation.

At the finish area, not far from the crash, athletes, coaches and officials awaited word on Kumaritashvili. Then they heard the worst.

"This is the first time we've seen this. It's very sad," said Canadian luge team coach Wolfgang Staudinger, adding he planned to meet with his team to discuss what happened.

The $105-million sliding centre, on the southeast face of Blackcomb Mountain, has been billed as a wild ride and the accident happened at its fastest point.

The 1,450-metre course has 16 turns and drops steeply for 152 metres, the longest drop of any track in the world.

The average grade is about 11 per cent.

Organizations: International Olympic Committee, Whistler Sliding Centre, International Luge Federation

Geographic location: WHISTLER, Vancouver

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Comments

Comments

Recent comments

  • Jo
    July 02, 2010 - 13:33

    I agree Kent. It's unnerving for me to look at and I didn't know the man. I can only imagine how his family would feel seeing that image in the media.

  • merriam
    July 02, 2010 - 13:30

    Right_Decision: Try looking up the word mar in the dictionary. Pretty sure it's correct.

  • Top
    July 02, 2010 - 13:30

    Death of Olympics Luge Racer Mars Opening of Olympics

    Mars is the right word, get with it...!

  • Earl
    July 02, 2010 - 13:25

    Um... Right_Decision,

    Mar is a word.

  • Chris
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    No thats correct. Its supposed to say Mars and not Marks. Mars as in the death spoiled the opening of the Olympics.

  • amazed
    July 02, 2010 - 13:21

    mar (mär)
    tr.v. marred, mar·ring, mars
    1. To inflict damage, especially disfiguring damage, on.
    2. To impair the soundness, perfection, or integrity of; spoil.
    n.
    A disfiguring mark; a blemish.

    Right_Decision, the right decision on the word was made. Your vocabulary needs a little more attention.

    As for the picture, it tells a tragic story, and news will tell a story in words and images. Always has and always will. Pulitizer Prizes are given for both mediums. It's how we learn about the world around us, and maybe spur us to action. I have heard the vietnam war was spurred to end after Americans saw pictures of their dead soldiers. Notice you don't see dead US soldiers arriving home like you do with our boys. That is the power of the image, more than the word.
    If you choose to read and/or look, that is your decision.
    RIP Nodar.

  • Vinnie
    July 02, 2010 - 13:17

    to Right_Decision......maybe you need more attention to education.......verb: to mar (third-person singular simple present-mars)-----to spoil or damage.

  • God
    July 02, 2010 - 13:17

    WHY ARE YOU WATCHING IT THEN???????????????????????????????????????????????????????? If you did not watch it then you would have nothing to complain about. Who held you down and forced you to view this?

    Shut up and turn off your TV and do not go outside. You might be FORCED to see the real world.

  • DD from Paradise
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    It's not a typo. Mar is actually a verb which means to damage or spoil to a certain extent . (For example, some feel the skyline of downtown St. John's will be marred by the proposed Fortis building).
    Not that there's not an abundance of typos on this site. This, however, is not one of them.

  • Paula
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    Nodar Kumaritashvili ------- your stay was much too short . Rest in Peace.

  • Fb
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    I think it is in extremely poor taste for all the media whores to publish this photo of this tragedy. In both print and in video I think that you should consider if you would want to see this picture if this was your child.

  • Right_Decision
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    ...anybody else notice that it says mars opening, instead of marks opening.... Editing needs a little more attention...

  • FB
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    So GOD you enjoyed watching that young man die. I feel sorry for you. It was hard not to watch it as i was not aware of the story and i was sitting there with my 8 year old daughter and this poor man hits the pole. It was not needed to tell the story. So if this was your kid you would be OK for the world to continue showing this. Sad very sad.

  • sigh
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    That is very sad. So tragic and god, you're right, nobody is forcing anyone to watch it. People are too sensitive lately. These types of pictures have always been and will always be on tv, in the papers. right-decision, I am pretty sure mars is the right word, not marks, I could be wrong, but I don't think so.

  • Kent
    July 02, 2010 - 13:08

    Showing that Asociated Press picture with the story is EXTREMELY bad taste and rather insensitive to both Canadians and the family of the victim.

  • Jo
    July 01, 2010 - 20:22

    I agree Kent. It's unnerving for me to look at and I didn't know the man. I can only imagine how his family would feel seeing that image in the media.

  • merriam
    July 01, 2010 - 20:18

    Right_Decision: Try looking up the word mar in the dictionary. Pretty sure it's correct.

  • Top
    July 01, 2010 - 20:17

    Death of Olympics Luge Racer Mars Opening of Olympics

    Mars is the right word, get with it...!

  • Earl
    July 01, 2010 - 20:11

    Um... Right_Decision,

    Mar is a word.

  • Chris
    July 01, 2010 - 20:06

    No thats correct. Its supposed to say Mars and not Marks. Mars as in the death spoiled the opening of the Olympics.

  • amazed
    July 01, 2010 - 20:04

    mar (mär)
    tr.v. marred, mar·ring, mars
    1. To inflict damage, especially disfiguring damage, on.
    2. To impair the soundness, perfection, or integrity of; spoil.
    n.
    A disfiguring mark; a blemish.

    Right_Decision, the right decision on the word was made. Your vocabulary needs a little more attention.

    As for the picture, it tells a tragic story, and news will tell a story in words and images. Always has and always will. Pulitizer Prizes are given for both mediums. It's how we learn about the world around us, and maybe spur us to action. I have heard the vietnam war was spurred to end after Americans saw pictures of their dead soldiers. Notice you don't see dead US soldiers arriving home like you do with our boys. That is the power of the image, more than the word.
    If you choose to read and/or look, that is your decision.
    RIP Nodar.

  • Vinnie
    July 01, 2010 - 19:58

    to Right_Decision......maybe you need more attention to education.......verb: to mar (third-person singular simple present-mars)-----to spoil or damage.

  • God
    July 01, 2010 - 19:58

    WHY ARE YOU WATCHING IT THEN???????????????????????????????????????????????????????? If you did not watch it then you would have nothing to complain about. Who held you down and forced you to view this?

    Shut up and turn off your TV and do not go outside. You might be FORCED to see the real world.

  • DD from Paradise
    July 01, 2010 - 19:50

    It's not a typo. Mar is actually a verb which means to damage or spoil to a certain extent . (For example, some feel the skyline of downtown St. John's will be marred by the proposed Fortis building).
    Not that there's not an abundance of typos on this site. This, however, is not one of them.

  • Paula
    July 01, 2010 - 19:49

    Nodar Kumaritashvili ------- your stay was much too short . Rest in Peace.

  • Fb
    July 01, 2010 - 19:49

    I think it is in extremely poor taste for all the media whores to publish this photo of this tragedy. In both print and in video I think that you should consider if you would want to see this picture if this was your child.

  • Right_Decision
    July 01, 2010 - 19:49

    ...anybody else notice that it says mars opening, instead of marks opening.... Editing needs a little more attention...

  • FB
    July 01, 2010 - 19:48

    So GOD you enjoyed watching that young man die. I feel sorry for you. It was hard not to watch it as i was not aware of the story and i was sitting there with my 8 year old daughter and this poor man hits the pole. It was not needed to tell the story. So if this was your kid you would be OK for the world to continue showing this. Sad very sad.

  • sigh
    July 01, 2010 - 19:44

    That is very sad. So tragic and god, you're right, nobody is forcing anyone to watch it. People are too sensitive lately. These types of pictures have always been and will always be on tv, in the papers. right-decision, I am pretty sure mars is the right word, not marks, I could be wrong, but I don't think so.

  • Kent
    July 01, 2010 - 19:43

    Showing that Asociated Press picture with the story is EXTREMELY bad taste and rather insensitive to both Canadians and the family of the victim.