Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Luger Who Died Was Terrified of Track
online.wsj.com ^ | FEBRUARY 14, 2010 | Samatha Shields

Posted on 02/14/2010 12:58:03 PM PST by fuzzybutt

BAKURIANI, Georgia—The young Georgian luger who died in a horrific training accident hours before the opening of the Vancouver Winter Olympics on Friday told his father he was terrified of the track before doing the run that killed him.

"He called me before the Olympics, three days ago, and he said, 'Dad, I'm scared of one of the turns,' " David Kumaritashvili said in an interview at his house in the small mountain town of Bakuriani on Sunday.

(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: 2010olympics; luge; luger; olympics
First rule in life, God gave you fear for a reason. Whatever you attempt to do if you are afraid then do not do it until you are no longer afraid.
1 posted on 02/14/2010 12:58:03 PM PST by fuzzybutt
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: fuzzybutt

First you have to determine if it’s reasonable fear or not. If it is, then by all means, avoid the action and you are right.

Many of us have unreasonable fears concerning some matters. Those unreasonable fears can cause us to put up walls or slam on the brakes when we shouldn’t.

Sadly, this wasn’t one of those cases. He had reasoned fear, and I’m sorry he didn’t listen to it.


2 posted on 02/14/2010 1:04:08 PM PST by DoughtyOne (God, Family, Friends, Home, Town, State, the U.S., Conservatism, Free Republic & a dollar a day...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: fuzzybutt

self fulfilling phrophesy


3 posted on 02/14/2010 1:05:10 PM PST by Conspiracy Guy (I voted Republican, no Conservative was on the ballot.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: fuzzybutt

Terribly sad.


4 posted on 02/14/2010 1:08:06 PM PST by truthkeeper ("Why oh why didn't I take the blue pill?")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: fuzzybutt

Luge racing is a form of High Risk Behavior

The Rule of Thumb in High Risk Behavior is,
if you are Afraid of what you are Doing - Don’t

Motorcycling and Sky Diving are similar in this respect
Fear binds your Thought and Reactions

You must be Fearless and Cautious at the Same Time


5 posted on 02/14/2010 1:09:43 PM PST by HangnJudge
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: fuzzybutt

Someone posted a paper on Friday night in a FR thread on the accident that was published by the company who built the track or by the IOS and how proud they were that they left such a small footprint on the environment which ultimately made it so dangerous because they built the steel pillars too close to the track. I neglected to grab it; can anyone repost or ping me with it? Thanks.


6 posted on 02/14/2010 1:10:38 PM PST by FrdmLvr ("The people will believe what the media tells them they believe." Orwell)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: fuzzybutt

Hate to be cynical in the wake of this young man’s death, but dad may by setting the table for a lawsuit against the IOC.

And if he thought it was too dangerous, why is it he elected to race down the track?


7 posted on 02/14/2010 1:12:09 PM PST by trumandogz (The Democrats are driving us to Socialism at 100 MPH -The GOP is driving us to Socialism at 97.5 MPH)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: fuzzybutt

Lets get real, everyone doing the luge takes their life into their hands every time they go down the run. It is an inherently dangerous and DEADLY “sport”. That said, the idiots who put up a line of OPEN, UNWALLED, UNSHEILDED STEEL GIRDERS just 3 feet or so off the side of the track after a dangerously tight turn should go to jail... talk about lack of foresight!


8 posted on 02/14/2010 1:14:15 PM PST by Jmouse007
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: HangnJudge

If the kid wanted safety in his sport, he should have entered the curling competition.

But one thing about the luge, it is defiantly not a ghetto sport.


9 posted on 02/14/2010 1:15:26 PM PST by trumandogz (The Democrats are driving us to Socialism at 100 MPH -The GOP is driving us to Socialism at 97.5 MPH)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: FrdmLvr

Here it is:

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2450241/posts


10 posted on 02/14/2010 1:15:33 PM PST by Abigail Adams
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: fuzzybutt

The young man supposedly had at least six trial runs down that same track immediately preceding the practice run.

He had slid down that track about twenty times in all.

It’s no crime to withdraw and he should have done so rather than whine to his father who was thousands of miles away and unable to make a judgement on his behalf.

The father was a luger for the Soviets, long time ago.


11 posted on 02/14/2010 1:17:20 PM PST by Carley (Are you better off now than one year ago? HELL NO!!!!!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Jmouse007

A “lip” on both sides of the track, where appropriate, would do wonders for eliminating luge riders from being catapulted off the track by “g” forces.

Want to eliminate the possibility of fatalities like the latest luger? Enclose the track in a tube, where appropriate.


12 posted on 02/14/2010 1:19:54 PM PST by freepersup (HELP find the "sharp dressed man" call 1 800 FBI MUMM)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: trumandogz
But one thing about the luge, it is defiantly not a ghetto sport.

I wonder how much is collectively spent on luge and bobsled per Olympic run. I have no idea what a bobsled track costs, but I'm sure it's more than a few million. I think it's a cool sport. I just wonder where all the money comes from. It's not like there's a big fan base to support sponsors products. Or is there?

13 posted on 02/14/2010 1:23:58 PM PST by Minn (Here is a realistic picture of the prophet: ----> ([: {()
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: HangnJudge

LOL, the fear IS the reason for taking part in activities such as this, or sky diving, or bungee-jumping. It is the fear that brings out the thrill of the adrenalin rush, which these people crave. If they felt it the same way as walking in a park, they wouldn’t do it.

Thrill can be addictive, and it is this nature of some people to seek more and more of it, that drives them to push the envelopes further and further.


14 posted on 02/14/2010 1:24:34 PM PST by James C. Bennett
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: fuzzybutt
Luge, bobsled, downhill, ski jumpers...just a different breed of people who have the nerve to do such things. I would imagine they all have fear, because they've all seen and experienced bad crashes, but their egos and desire to excel overcome the fear.

I remember decades ago watching the ski jumpers in one of the events, a day when they had severe crosswinds, overcast and snow in the air, so they couldn't see the landing. (I used to snowmobile and when it's overcast like that you just can't see the contrast, the bumps in the trail, so you have to slow way down, unless you're crazy).

Anyway, the first several jumpers lost it and crashed in a heap like a rag doll. What must go through the next jumper's mind when he sees the first few jumpers carted off on a backboard? But yet, down the ramp they went. That takes a lotta nerve.

15 posted on 02/14/2010 1:24:53 PM PST by FlyVet
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: HangnJudge

Yes. When you have confidence you are alert to the potential for danger and do your best to make sure it doesn’t happen.


16 posted on 02/14/2010 1:25:13 PM PST by Secret Agent Man (I'd like to tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: Carley
It’s no crime to withdraw and he should have done so rather than whine to his father who was thousands of miles away and unable to make a judgement on his behalf.

I don't think he was alone in his fear about the track.
Instead of saying nothing, all of the lugers should have got together and said “We're not going down that track until some changes are made”.

17 posted on 02/14/2010 1:25:30 PM PST by MAexile (Bats left, votes right)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: Conspiracy Guy

So many people voiced concern about the track. Three crashed in the same spot in two days.

They changed it only after Nodar died.


18 posted on 02/14/2010 1:26:32 PM PST by BunnySlippers (I LOVE BULL MARKETS . . .)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: freepersup

I thought I actually saw tube encasements on luge courses in certain turn areas, in the past.


19 posted on 02/14/2010 1:27:11 PM PST by Secret Agent Man (I'd like to tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: FrdmLvr

Perhaps here:

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2450241/posts


20 posted on 02/14/2010 1:28:01 PM PST by BunnySlippers (I LOVE BULL MARKETS . . .)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: FrdmLvr

These Luge tracks use massive amounts of refrigeration and electricity to keep huge long track “iced”. Funny how the media fails to point that out since it’s the “Olympics”. I guess its ok to put massive amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere as long as its in the name of the Olympics...


21 posted on 02/14/2010 1:39:01 PM PST by HD1200
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: trumandogz

That’s a brilliant observation. /s


22 posted on 02/14/2010 1:39:19 PM PST by 1rudeboy
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: trumandogz

You wrote:

“And if he thought it was too dangerous, why is it he elected to race down the track?”

He was representing his country and probably didn’t want to let down the people back home.


23 posted on 02/14/2010 1:43:11 PM PST by vladimir998 (Part of the Vast Catholic Conspiracy (hat tip to Kells))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: vladimir998

He knew the risks.


24 posted on 02/14/2010 1:44:19 PM PST by trumandogz (The Democrats are driving us to Socialism at 100 MPH -The GOP is driving us to Socialism at 97.5 MPH)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: BunnySlippers

I know. If I felt the track was not safe, I would not run it.


25 posted on 02/14/2010 1:44:32 PM PST by Conspiracy Guy (I voted Republican, no Conservative was on the ballot.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: trumandogz

Yes, he did. It’s still a shame.


26 posted on 02/14/2010 1:47:09 PM PST by vladimir998 (Part of the Vast Catholic Conspiracy (hat tip to Kells))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: vladimir998

Yes, it is a shame.

However, I do not see him as a victim of anyone else’s wrong doing..


27 posted on 02/14/2010 1:56:46 PM PST by trumandogz (The Democrats are driving us to Socialism at 100 MPH -The GOP is driving us to Socialism at 97.5 MPH)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: Abigail Adams; BunnySlippers

That’s it. Thanks! It will be used to prove a point.


28 posted on 02/14/2010 1:58:58 PM PST by FrdmLvr ("The people will believe what the media tells them they believe." Orwell)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: trumandogz
“And if he thought it was too dangerous, why is it he elected to race down the track?”

Those of us have played sports understand why he went down the track. When you are a member of a team, you grow to love your teammates, and you are willing to do your best for them. He had trained long and hard for his event, he was selected to for his country's team, so he did what he had to do. His commitment went from doing his personal best to doing his best for his teammates. Add to that he comes from a very small, very poor country. His country and his Olympic committee supported him with a number of costly resources, and so he wanted to do his best for the committee that selected him. Then add to that his commitment to doing his best for his country. It's not difficult to understand why he did what he did despite his fear. I honor that kind of man who makes that kind of commitment, then follows through.

29 posted on 02/14/2010 2:17:31 PM PST by righttackle44 (Is Obama an Italian or Japanese name?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: fuzzybutt
Without fear, there is no courage.
Courage is the ability to proceed through one’s fear.
30 posted on 02/14/2010 2:22:38 PM PST by Euker
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: trumandogz

Of course he is, any moron could see that was an unsafe design. 100, 200 athletes,, whatever the number are left with a track that is designed like crap.

Telling him to withdraw if he thinks the track is a menace is ridiculous, why is it so unreasonable to expect the equipment be up to modern standards? Why shouldnt the designer be held responsible for his design?

I bet if a highway had an obviously dangerous flaw in the design, you wouldnt dismiss the death of a friend by saying,,”it’s all on the driver”, he could have stayed home”


31 posted on 02/14/2010 2:24:32 PM PST by DesertRhino (Dogs earn the title of "man's best friend", Muslims hate dogs,,add that up.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: fuzzybutt

“Scared” now equals “Terrified”? Sure glad I’m not a journalist.


32 posted on 02/14/2010 2:25:39 PM PST by R. Scott (Humanity i love you because when you're hard up you pawn your Intelligence to buy a drink)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: trumandogz

Of course he is, any moron could see that was an unsafe design. 100, 200 athletes,, whatever the number are left with a track that is designed like crap.

Telling him to withdraw if he thinks the track is a menace is ridiculous, why is it so unreasonable to expect the equipment be up to modern standards? Why shouldnt the designer be held responsible for his design?

I bet if a highway had an obviously dangerous flaw in the design, you wouldnt dismiss the death of a friend by saying,,”it’s all on the driver”, he could have stayed home”


33 posted on 02/14/2010 2:27:39 PM PST by DesertRhino (Dogs earn the title of "man's best friend", Muslims hate dogs,,add that up.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: fuzzybutt
So... it seems that there are many who may be sympathetic for the young man but are still willing to suggest that he has to carry some responsibility for it himself – it’s a risky sport and he willingly engaged in it, he knew the risks etc etc. Sorry but I’m not buying any of it. There is absolutely no way that young Nodar or anybody else’s body should have been able to leave the confines of the track period. If it was possible (and this obviously is now confirmed to be the case), than the design was insufficient for dealing with a worst case scenario... end of issue. It’s called insufficient design margins. This was obviously a tragic event but I would not call it an accident in the truest definition of the word since it was totally preventable....it was a tragic outcome that simply exposed a design flaw. Like so many other things, it seems that design engineers are not allowed to apply reasonable margins of safety on designs until somebody gets killed. Quite often it is the non-engineering types that get involved in these projects and they often kibosh safety measures because of costs or other reasons. Other things can be compromised but not safely. The idea of comparing the risk of a high speed crash where the luger in a protective suit falls off a sled, rattles around in the track sliding at high speeds and then eventually friction slows him down is NOT on the same level as the risk of being able to leave the track and hit a steel post planted a mere three feet from that track on the outside of the curve. So, what we had here was a scenario where it WAS possible to have a series of circumstances that made it possible to leave the track, there was NO containment to bring him back to the track once he left it AND once out, there was NO clear path for him to slow down without meeting a deadly obstacle. Unless someone here can successfully make the argument that he was trying to get himself propelled off the track, than in my view he has zero responsibility for his death and 100% of it lies elsewhere.....the designer or somebody who overruled the designer.

Some of this reminds me of the talk that ensued after the Siberian tiger managed to get out of its pen at the San Francisco Zoo a few years ago...seems to me that there were those that tried to lay the blame on the guy who got mauled to death because he apparently had been ‘teasing the tiger’. The sad reality was that the wall was simply too low and regardless of how sick it would be to tease a tiger, there is no way it should have been able to get out. With the wall too low, it was going to happen sooner or later. As I said, it always seems to take a death before something gets done and no doubt, changes will be made in the future. My guess that we are going to see tubular containments on these corners on future tracks. It’s just very sad that a young man had to die for that to happen.

34 posted on 02/14/2010 2:32:57 PM PST by Asfarastheeastisfromthewest... ("In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act." George Orwell)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DoughtyOne
I remember Shelby Foote talking about prior to one of the battles of Gettysburg.

He mentioned that every Confederate soldier knew it was folly to march out into that open field, but all of them did.

Foote said it would have been more courageous to tell the general that "no one can take that hill" then to march to certain death.

I guess this fellow felt the same way. How do you tell them you are not going to represent your country because you are frightened.

35 posted on 02/14/2010 2:33:58 PM PST by mware (F-R-E-E, that spells free. Free Republic.com baby.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: DesertRhino
I bet if a highway had an obviously dangerous flaw in the design, you wouldnt dismiss the death of a friend by saying,,”it’s all on the driver”, he could have stayed home”

Well said. Some here have suggested that ‘he knew the risks’. Actually, he probably didn’t know the risks at all. He likely had very good understanding of issues such as how tight the turns were, the angle of embankment, the speeds, g forces etc. He also knew the risks of falling off a sled at nearly 100 mph and rattling around in an icy track until he slowed down and hence what kind of protective equipment was appropriate. What he would have no concept of was the answer to a simple question of ‘was it physically possible for him to leave the confines of the track.’ There certainly has been no indication that the only people that should be lugers are also degreed mechanical engineers who have personally done all their own engineering calculations and verifications on the matter. In that sense, I don’t view this any different that a person who goes to a water park and when they go down that slide for the first time, they assume that somebody has designed it so that it is absolutely physically impossible for them to go around a corner and fly off into never never land.

36 posted on 02/14/2010 2:42:56 PM PST by Asfarastheeastisfromthewest... ("In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act." George Orwell)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 33 | View Replies]

To: DesertRhino
Good post. It's frustrating to see so many FReepers basically say, "Tough cookies, he knew the risks." What a bunch of heartless dweebs.

Show me any highway in America that would have oak trees or concrete pillars located three feet from the road at a high speed turn. Show me! That the designers had open, and completely unprotected steel girders lining the track 36 inches away from a harrowing turn is a criminal design flaw.

This poor kid should not have lost his life over this obvious fault.

37 posted on 02/14/2010 2:58:57 PM PST by Obadiah (Democrats and their life partners, the MSM)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: Obadiah

I have to agree with the ones that say people are heartless on this matter. Sure there was danger in the sport, but the track should have had rails or something on the side to prevent this from happening. My heart goes out to his family and friends. Shame on you...Olympics!!!!


38 posted on 02/14/2010 7:00:37 PM PST by cam60
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 37 | View Replies]

To: cam60
Sure there was danger in the sport, but the track should have had rails or something on the side to prevent this from happening.

When I saw the picture of that guy slamming into the pole and how easy it was to fly off the track, I thought the same thing.
39 posted on 02/14/2010 7:04:45 PM PST by aruanan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 38 | View Replies]

To: fuzzybutt
Whatever you attempt to do if you are afraid then do not do it until you are no longer afraid.

Or do it until you are no longer afraid.
40 posted on 02/14/2010 7:05:55 PM PST by aruanan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: righttackle44
Those of us have played sports understand why he went down the track. When you are a member of a team, you grow to love your teammates, and you are willing to do your best for them. He had trained long and hard for his event, he was selected to for his country's team, so he did what he had to do. His commitment went from doing his personal best to doing his best for his teammates. Add to that he comes from a very small, very poor country. His country and his Olympic committee supported him with a number of costly resources, and so he wanted to do his best for the committee that selected him. Then add to that his commitment to doing his best for his country. It's not difficult to understand why he did what he did despite his fear. I honor that kind of man who makes that kind of commitment, then follows through.

Well put, righttackle. This was not some idiot who travelled out to the middle of nowhere to climb a mountain with the possibility of placing others (aka, rescuers) at risk. A track (luge, auto racing, etc.) *should be* a controlled environment. Thanks to people such as Jackie Stewart, auto racing is *much* safer today for drivers and spectators compared to past years (1955 Le Mans disaster comes to mind).

Anyway, who the hell places beams/pillars just off the side of the track?! This reminds me of the death of Princess Diana; there should be a smooth wall there (or as others have said, a (clear) tube)! I don't have a degree in physics or engineering, but apparently I can be more intelligent/sensible/logical than the dolts who engineered said track/tunnel!

41 posted on 02/14/2010 8:11:26 PM PST by Tarkus2040 ("In politics the middle way is none at all." --John Adams)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 29 | View Replies]

To: mware
I'm sure there is lots of pressure on these kids. I do have to say that the limits have been pushed too far in some of these events.
42 posted on 02/15/2010 12:26:34 AM PST by DoughtyOne (God, Family, Friends, Home, Town, State, the U.S., Conservatism, Free Republic & a dollar a day...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 35 | View Replies]

To: Carley

Whine? He expressed his concerns to his dad and died.

I don’t consider expressing valid concerns to be whining, and the outcome speaks for itself.


43 posted on 02/15/2010 12:30:41 AM PST by DoughtyOne (God, Family, Friends, Home, Town, State, the U.S., Conservatism, Free Republic & a dollar a day...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: All
Image and video hosting by TinyPic
44 posted on 02/15/2010 12:59:57 AM PST by deks
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 43 | View Replies]

To: Jmouse007
The track should have a removable class top all the way through. Guaranteed 100% luger will not come out of the track.
45 posted on 02/15/2010 7:15:12 AM PST by SQUID
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: Jmouse007
Kinda like the tiger cage designers in San Fran.

Like Joe Rogan said, "If you're gonna put a monster in a box, you might want to put a TOP on the box!"

46 posted on 02/15/2010 7:17:51 AM PST by thefactor (yes, as a matter of fact, i DID only read the excerpt)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson