Vancouver 2010: Olympic Luge Accidents, Whistler Track Too Fast?
The Luge track at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Luge Track in Whistler is fast, very fast. - with speeds topping 150 kms. Though it is still unclear whether the luge track is too fast, too dangerous for the Friday practice runs especially after the tragic death of a Gerogian Luger
The head of the Georgian Olympic, Irakly Japaridze, devastated by the loss of Nodar Kumaritashvili, had this to say about the Whistler Luge Track
I don't know how he died but I can tell you one thing, the track was really very bad.
One thing is clear that before the tragic death of Georgian Luger, Nodar Kumaritashvili, there were other accidents involving lugers and their sleds on the Whistler Luge Track.
Before Kumaritashvili's fatal crash, Italy's Armin Zoeggeler, the defending Olympic champion, lost control in the first run Friday. It didn't appear he was injured. But on Thursday Violeta Stramaturaru of Romania had to be airlifted out because of a crash. The crashes came in the wake of Austrian Manuel Pfister clocking the fastest speed ever recorded. On Thursday, he hit 154 km/h which topped 153.98 km/h, set at the same course last year.
The other concern are these metal poles that the Georgian Luger, Kumaritashvili crashed into. Again, it unclear if what, if anything, padding would have done to prevent the tragic death of the 21 year old Georgian Luger.
NPR quotes Australian Luger Hannah-Campbell Pegg:
She said "To what extent are we just little lemmings that they just throw down this track and we're crash test dummies. I mean" she said "this is our lives."
Luge of course is dangerous sport, high speed accidents are common (see video).While the Whistler Luge Track is shut down as officials investigate it is unclear whether the entire Luge event will be cancelled. If you so desire the video of the Georgian Luger Accident is here