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hOT NEWS feb12

Messagede Wewsextethy » Sam 13 Fév 2010 14:16

Death Casts Pall Over Olympics

WHISTLER, British Columbia—The death of a 21-year-old luger from the Republic of Georgia cast a shadow over the start of the Winter Olympics Friday night.
As the organizers of the event and athletes from around the world prepared to attend the opening ceremonies only six hours later, Nodar Kumaritashvili lost control of his sled near the end of the luge course, his body slamming into an unprotected metal pole next to the track at the Whistler Sliding Centre. His sled remained in the course, which has been so fast in training rounds that some competitors have questioned its safety. A rescue helicopter arrived within moments, but attempts to save the athlete failed.

An Olympic hopeful from Georgia crashed and died while training for the luge event. WSJ's Reed Albergotti reports from Vancouver.

The crash was only the latest setback to strike the Vancouver Games ahead of the Saturday start of competition. Extraordinarily warm and rainy weather from Vancouver all the way to Whistler, a mountain resort about 80 miles to the north, have forced the cancellation of training runs in discipline after discipline. On courses that are generally considered fast, those cancellations could increase the risk of crashes, because performing on unfamiliar terrain is dangerous.
Whether the weather affected the speed of the course was unclear. Wetness can increase the slickness of ice, but warm air can offset that effect by making it slower.
Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee, told a news conference that the "tragedy...clearly casts a shadow over these Games." Mr. Kumaritashvili "had a dream to participate...and he lost his life."

The German designer of the track said he was "eternally sorry" for the young man who died but said his tracks have a safe record, according to an interview with the German newspaper Sport Bild. "I've designed six tracks and no one has ever flown off it," Udo Gurgel told the magazine. "The track is fast but [curve] 16 is a very long curve and normally not much can happen because by the end, the speed decreases sharply."

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Inscription: Sam 13 Fév 2010 14:15

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