Georgian Luger Killed in Olympic Practice Crash
February 12, 2010
(ChattahBox)—A tragic accident occurred hours before the opening ceremonies of the 21st Winter Olympics in Vancouver, casting a pall over the international games before they even began. A luger athlete from the country of Georgia, Nodar Kumaritashvili, 21, lost control of his luge as it was speeding down the course at approximately 90 miles per hour. He jumped over the wall of the Whistler Sliding Center course and crashed into an unpadded steel post. Kumaritashvili was pronounced dead at a hospital after attempts to revive him failed.
The teary-eyes Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge announced the young luger’s death at a somber news conference.
“Sorry. It’s been difficult to remain composed,” he said. “This is a very sad day. The IOC is in deep mourning. I have no words to say what we feel.” The luger’s death “clearly casts a shadow over these games,” said Rogge.
John Furlong, head of the local Vancouver organizing committee (VANOC), said, “I’m told by members of his federation that he was an incredibly spirited person. He came here to feel what it is like to be called an Olympian. We are heartbroken beyond words. It’s not something I ever thought I’d need to be prepared for.”
The accident is being investigated.
Photo Source: IOC Media Broadcast / AP