Saturday, February 13, 2010

Dying for the Gold

I never had much sympathy with the guy who decided that Hurricane Wilma was just the ticket for kite surfing fun in Ft. Lauderdale a few years ago, or even the guy who went paddle boarding last week off Palm Beach during an annual shark migration, but as dangerous as the luge is at any time, Nodar Kumaritashvili, the 21-year-old luger from Georgia deserved better.

Kumaritashvili's practice runs showed he was not quite up to snuff. He didn't finish one practice run and his speeds were significantly lower than other athletes', but the safety of this very fast course has been questioned and critics may have been right. He was killed in a crash yesterday, the second one in practice for the Vancouver games. Of all the things not worth dying for, "going for the gold" and for ephemeral national glory have to be amongst the least valuable.

I don't know if it's too late to correct the design, but let's hope nothing else like this happens.


tnlib said...

I read the concrete polls are not padded. Whether that would have prevented his death is up for qrabs. And of course, if the brain stem was impacted, which it probably was, no amount of padding would have helped going at those speeds. Seems to me they could compete without such dangerous conditions.

Capt. Fogg said...

I have to wonder if they got carried away trying to make the course more "exciting" or whether it was just negligence. We've got so used to "extreme" sports that some of these things must seem tame to the audience and we have to face it -- ratings rule.

Scares hell out of me just to think about it.