Friday, February 12, 2010
BREAKING NEWS: Georgian Luger Dies After Vancouver Crash
A men's Olympic luger from the former Soviet republic of Georgia has crashed during training and has died as a result from those injuries. Officials said Nodar Kumaritashvili ((pictured, on a Vancouver training run, thanks Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)) lost control of his sled earlier Friday, went over the wall of the track and appeared to hit a pole at the Whistler Sliding Center.
Rescue officials rushed to the scene and were performing chest compressions. Kumaritashvili was lifted into an ambulance. An air-rescue helicopter was summoned and was in the area over the track about eight minutes after the crash.
Wire services announced the death shortly after 3:00 this afternoon eastern time.
CTV's Olympics website, CTVolympics.ca, had reported Kumaritashvili running his sled at 144.3 km/h ((almost 90 mph)) before he hit one side of the wall, crashed into the other, was thrown off his sled and over the wall.
He, apparently, hit a metal pole on the side of the track after he flew over the wall.
The track is drawing concerns from athletes: "I think they are pushing it a little too much," Australia's Hannah Campbell-Pegg said Thursday. "To what extent are we just little lemmings that they just throw down a track and we're crash-test dummies? I mean, this is our lives."
International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge addressed the assembled media Friday afternoon and said the IOC is "in deep mourning." Vancouver organizing chief John Furlong said, "We are heartbroken beyond words." Rogge said he spoke with the president of the Republic of Georgia to express his sympathy.
Rogge said, at the time, the Georgian delegation has not decided whether to remain in the competition. The delegation marched in Friday's opening ceremonies, but did not remain in BC Place after their procession.
They have decided to compete...