Edwin van Calker, Dutch Bobsleigh Driver Pulls Out of Olympics
Edwin van Calker, the driver for the Netherlands' four-man bobsleigh team has pulled out of the Olympic Winter Games according to NBC and this means that the Netherlands has pulled out of the four-man bobsleigh team as Calker was their driver.
- Swiss Pull Bobsled Athletes out of Competition and off Luge Track
- Nodar Kumaritashvili's Death: Changes Made to Whistler Luge Track
Their coach, Tom de la Hunty said the factors behind Calker's dropping out include family pressures, a loss of confidence after he almost crashed in the two-man bobsleigh event and the death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili on the same track just before the start of the Games.
In the two-man competition, van Calker lost control of his sled but was able to complete the run. He and teammate Jansma Sybren finished 14th.
The Dutch team have stated to NBC that they support Calker's wishes.
Not the first Bobsleigh team to pull out of the Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver
The Swiss bobsleigh team pulled their driver Daniel Schmid and driver Beat Hefti out of the competition as they said they fear for their athletes' safety.
The Australian bobsleigh team have also withdrawn from the four-man competition according to the New York Time Blog, as two of their athletes suffered injuries during the two-man races.
Duncan Harvey and Duncan Pugh were both deemed not well enough to race.
“Everyone involved with not only the bobsled team, but the entire Australian team is well aware what a privilege it is to be able to represent your countries at the Olympic Games,” Australian Chef de Mission Ian Chesterman said. “The decision was certainly not taken lightly.”
Are athletes concerned about safety on the Whistler Sliding Track?
After Nodar Kumaritashvili's death on the sliding track, many questioned the safety of the run, which is known as the fastest track in the world. The track did undergo some changes after his death and the luge competitors had to start from lower down. The bobsleigh and skeleton events however couldn't be moved down, because those athletes need a running start and that can only be done at the top where there is enough space.
The International Luge Federation (FIL) ruled that Kumaritashvili's death was human error and not an error of the track.
But how big a role does the track and its reputation still play in the events towards the close of the Olympic Winter Games?