What happened to Nodar Kumaritashvili on Saturday morning, before the opening ceremony, was nothing short of a tragedy. Any young person losing their life is a tragedy. Any person losing their life during an organised sporting tournament is a tragedy. But using it to grandstand your amusement at the organisers struggling to cope with something so unforseen and so awful is just sick.
Greg Baum, I’m looking at you.
Your column in the Sydney Morning Herald is an insult to Kumaritashvili and a slap in the face of the Vancouver Olympic organisers. To criticise them for making changes to the luge run, in spite of them saying they didn’t consider it “dangerous” is just stupid. If they’d done nothing, I guarantee that you’d be near the top of the crowd clamouring for blood.
Can we just put into context just what this sport entails? You do realise that sliding down an icy chute on a McDonald’s tray at over 100 miles per hour is, in itself, inherently dangerous? Any activity that involves going fast (driving, catching an aeroplane, skiing, etc) has with it an chance that if it does go wrong then it could be fatal.
“…the track, although faster than expected, was no more dangerous than any other. Nonetheless, they had decided to start the men’s Olympic race from the women’s gate, lower down the mountain.
Officials also said that no amount of padding could guarantee the safety of a luger who flew off the course, but overnight they had the final corner remodelled and streamlined anyway.”
So, I take it by that you’re suggesting that in spite of having a fatal accident occur on the course that they should have done…nothing? They should have left the track as it was? You’re fucking kidding me.
They responded to a horrible situation the best they could. They modified the area of the course where the crash occurred and moved the starting positions for both the men’s and women’s events one spot down the hill (the men started from the women’s spot, while the women start from the “junior” spot).
What else could that have done? You can’t cancel the event because of one accident – albeit a fatal one – as such risks are part of the sport. To suggest that the organisers are taking this lightly is just an insane suggestion. To suggest that they have no respect for the lives of the athletes who participate in the sport is absurd.
Luge is dangerous, but so is driving your car, so is flying in a plane, so is power-boating. Accidents happen.