A luger scheduled to compete in this year’s Winter Olympics was killed in a crash just hours before tonight’s opening ceremony in Vancouver, The Associated Press has learned.
Nodar Kumaritashvili, a 21-year-old hopeful from the Republic of Georgia, lost control of his sled, went over a track wall, and struck an unpadded steel pole at high-speed during a training run at Whistler Sliding Center
early Friday. The young athlete was taken to hospital with blood pouring from a head wound after trackside emergency treatment, but doctors were unable to save his life. Video that showed Kumaritashvili flying out of his luge and slamming into the pole at nearly 90 mph has been removed from YouTube and is quickly disappearing from other video sharing sites around the Web.
Olympic competition in Men’s Luge is scheduled to begin Saturday, but questions about the track’s safety plague the aspiring medalists.