google10fa0980c6101c7f.html The Many Faces of Death: DEATH of a Luger - Nodar Kumaritashvili, GEORGIA-EASTERN EUROPE


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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

0 DEATH of a Luger - Nodar Kumaritashvili, GEORGIA-EASTERN EUROPE

Georgian postal stamp
commemorating Kumaritashvili
Nodar David Kumaritashvili, (November 25, 1988 – February 12, 2010) was a Georgian luger, who suffered a fatal crash during a training run for the 2010 Winter Olympics competition in Vancouver, Canada, on the day of the opening ceremony. He became the fourth athlete to have died during Winter Olympics preparations, after British luger Kazimierz Kay-Skrzypeski, Australian skier Ross Milne (both Innsbruck 1964), and Swiss speed skier Nicolas Bochatay (Albertville 1992), and the sixth athlete to die in either a Summer or Winter Olympic Games.

Kumaritashvili, who first began to luge when he was 13, came from a family of seasoned lugers; a relative of his was the founder of organised sledding Georgia, and his father competed when he was younger. A cousin of Kumaritashvili's father was the head of the Georgian Luge Federation; Kumaritashvili himself began competing in the 2008–09 Luge World Cup, where he finished 55th out of 62 racers. Outside of luge, Kumaritashvili had been a student at the Georgian Technical University, where he earned an economics degree in 2009.
Nodar Kumaritashvili was born in Borjomi, Georgian SSR, present day Georgia, to David and Dodo Kumaritashvili.  He had one younger sister, Mariam, who is four years younger.  The region Kumaritashvili grew up has many ski hills, and he enjoyed several different winter sports.  Kumaritashvili started luge when he was 13 years old.

At the time of his death he was ranked 44th out of 65 competitors in the 2009–10 World Cup season and was regarded as one of the best lugers to come from Georgia. 

Photo credit
Accident and Death

By December 31, 2009, the cut-off date for luge qualifications for the Olympics, Kumaritashvili was ranked 38th overall. As he had also raced in the minimum of five World Cup races over the previous two years, he qualified for the luge men's singles event at the 2010 Winter Olympics, which would be his Olympic debut.  On February 12, 2010, Kumaritashvili was fatally injured in a crash during a training run at the Whistler Sliding Centre when he lost control in the final turn of the course and was thrown off his luge and over the sidewall of the track, striking an unprotected steel support pole at the end of the run.  He was travelling at 143.6 km/h (89.2 mph) at the moment of impact.  At a test event in 2009, a luger had clocked a record 153.937 km/h (95.652 mph) on the same track, prompting Josef Fendt, president of the International Luge Federation (FIL), to comment: "It makes me worry."

Medics were at his side within seconds of the crash. Cardio-pulmonary resuscitation began within one minute, and a plastic breathing tube was inserted into his mouth. He was airlifted to a Whistler hospital, where he died of his injuries.  It was luge's first fatality since December 10, 1975 when an Italian luger was killed.  Kumaritashvili's final run had been his 25th on the Whistler track, and his 13th from the men's start.  Some United Kingdom newspapers blamed the crash on Canada's aggressive Own the Podium program, which had given Canadian athletes more time to train at the Olympic venues to the detriment of Olympians from other countries.

(See video of accident under Real Deaths Captured On Film)


Remembering Nodar David Kumaritashvili

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