February 15th, 2010 15:13 EST
Olympic Luger who was killed Told Dad He Was Afraid of One Particular Turn on Track
Any moment in sports where an athlete is killed or seriously injured, it leaves a lump in any sports fans throat to have to have seen that tragedy or been a part of it. This year`s Olympics held one of those moments as Nodar Kumaritashvili Bakuriani, Georgia who became one of those such victims.
On a practice run for the Whistler Luge event last week, he became such a victim. As he slid down the track, he picked up speeds in excess of 90 miles an hour, a speed that unless you are riding in a car is extremely dangerous when you are on a thin obstacle that is a little larger than a skateboard. As he was heading for the finish of the course, and there is no confirmed details as to what really happened whether it was the course or possible human error, he went into the final turn and lost control. His body was slung over the ramp wall of the course and into a steel pillar.
Rescue crews immediately tried to revive him but could not do so successfully. I saw the incident on television and I can say my heart sank when I saw it. I can only imagine what his father is going through right now. I too am a Dad and there is no way I could ever bear losing my son. I would give my son my heart if he needed it, so what that father is going through right now is something I would rather die than have to go through the pain.
There now are questions rising as to the safety of the Luge course. There have been questions on the speeds of the course and the course has been said to be the fastest in the world. The questions now become, does the luge course really need to be that fast? In my opinion; no.
The International Luge Federation is considering putting speed limits on the Whistler course and the Federation has been considering this even before this tragedy. There was a record speed of 96 miles an hour recently on the course and now the Luge Federation is considering topping the speed limit for the Whistler course at 85 miles an hour. The course was shortened by 190 yards the day after the tragedy which will help slow down the speeds.
The heartbreaking thing is three days before Kumaritashvili death, he called his Dad who is also a former luger and said he was afraid of one of the turns. His Dad told him to put his legs down on the ice to slow down but his son wanted to ride the course out.
In sports, there will always be tragedies but there can be more measures to prevent these tragedies or limit them from happening. Hopefully, there can be some positive that comes out of this moment and that is to fix the Whistler Luge course to safe speeds and install measures that offer one-hundred and ten percent protection for anyone that braves riding the course.