The entire Olympic Community was in aver somber mood as the Opening Ceremony took place on 12th February 2010. The thoughts of all present were on the crash that killed a fellow participant of the Winter Games. Nodar Kumaritashvili was a skilled Luge sportsperson. From the nation of Georgia this young lad of only 21 years had his life drastically cut short on Friday.
In a training run on the Whistler luge track Nodar Kumaritashvili crashed on the last corner and was quickly taken to the hospital. Unfortunately the doctors were unable to revive him. This was not the first crash on the Luge track as Romania's Violeta Stramaturar and Italy's Armin Zoeggler have also crashed on the track on Wednesday.
The crash of Nodor Kumaritashvili was on the internet in a matter of minutes. The photos and videos of the crash were to be found online, but many have now been deleted or removed by the sites. The death of the sportsman was confirmed and acknowledged by International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge in a public statement as given below
"Mr. Kumaritashvili died after crashing on the last corner of the course during training. Doctors were unable to revive the athlete who died in hospital.
Our first thoughts are with the family, friends and colleagues of the athlete. The whole Olympic Family is struck by this tragedy which clearly casts a shadow over these Games."
The seven remaining members of the Georgian Winter Olympic Team wore serious expressions and black arm bands during the Opening Ceremony. Even the Georgian National Flag had a long black ribbon draped on it. The members of the contingent looked downcast. Even before the games begin the dangers of the sports have been driven home to all participants.
It was just a couple of days ago that I wrote an article on the 15 Sports featured in the Winter Olympics. I had given a brief description of the sports and the events that each sport had in the Winter Games. I had even mentioned that some of these sports were dangerous and needed high levels of skill. Even when I was describing some of the sports I was wondering how safe they could be, but dismissed my fears with the usual thought of I'm sure they will be taking care of all the safety gear. May be the International Olympic Committee needs to add some more safety standards for the participants of each sport? The truth is that no matter how many precautions you take there is always the danger inherent in any sport.
For Luge my parting line had been "Again, people there are easier ways to kill yourself. " They proved prophetic and I wish it were otherwise. I sincerely hope that the rest of the games see no more fatal incidents and very few injuries. The Olympic Games are said to be a celebration of the spirit of man to go further than he has before. I just hope the only records that are broken are of previous sporting events and not those related to injuries and deaths.