I did not have the stomach to watch the fatal accident of the Georgian slider, Nodar Kumaritashvili, on Whistler Sliding Centre's track, but it was a very tragic accident.
Although I had never heard of the guy before yesterday, it still made me sad for multiple reasons. First of all, I never want to see someone die just before they have a chance to perform in the Olympics, the world stage of sport. Secondly this makes me said because this slider was very young. The guy was 21. He potentially had a long life yet to be lived.
There is another thing that makes me sad and incredibly disappointed which is the response from the IOC. The IOC made a statement effectively stating that the accident had nothing to do with the track. I consider the entire even to be the accident, not just the part where he missed the turn and flew off his sled. To me the accident also included the follow through and what happened to the slider after he came off of the sled.
Although I cannot find a link to it, I also saw an interview on the nightly news yesterday evening with a member of the IOC stating, in essence, that the slider was too inexperienced to be on the track. This is a completely unacceptable statement. The guy didn't just show up out of nowhere with a sled. He was an Olympic athlete. He had to qualify for the event. This is a track that is being used as an Olympic tack. By definition an Olympic athlete is experienced enough to be on an Olympic track.
As everyone who has been paying attention to this event has seen, a barricade has been erected blocking the steel beams that Kumaritashvili struck which caused his death. In addition to this the starting point of the men's event was moved further down on the track. So I pose this question: If there was nothing wrong with the track then why did the organizers feel the need to take these precautions? Is the track suddenly unsafe for Olympic athletes?
You can make your own conclusions. As you can see, I have made mine.
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