Death on the track

Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili killed during an Olympic training run

A freak accident? Maybe. But at the moment, this does not look good on VANOC:

Kumaritashvili lost control of his sled near the finish Friday, went over the track wall and struck an unpadded steel pole near the finish line at Whistler Sliding Center.

Leave aside how it was possible for the unfortunate Georgian luger to go over the track wall. Why was there an unpadded steel pole anywhere near the finish line?

UPDATE: Here’s a picture of the awful moment just before impact. Correct me if I’m wrong, but does the track design not look like a horrible death waiting to happen?


MORE: From this story, it is clear that people in the sport thought the track was pushing it. It has been described as “an elevator shaft with ice.” That is, even the highly-trained lunatics who do this for kicks were wary of it. On top of which:

“Please, let there be no accidents there because that could kill the sport,” said Andy Schmid, the performance director of British Skeleton, who condemns as irresponsible the Canadian authorities’ decision to limit practice time for overseas competitors to just 40 training runs compared with the 300-plus runs set aside for Canadian athletes.

“People have the argument that it’s just home advantage and that’s normal for an Olympic host country, but it’s different for sports involving high speed. Can you imagine in Formula One nobody being allowed on a track because somebody has home advantage?”

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