Today marks the close of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, B.C. The games this year have been extraordinary, but also marred by a number of misfortunes, the greatest of which was the death of luger Nodar Kumaritashvili. The Olympic luger from the country of Georgia died hours before the opening ceremonies on February 12. He was 21.
Kumaritashvili, making his first Olympic appearance, was on a practice run when he lost control of his sled, tumbled over the wall, and hit a metal support beam. He had just entered the fastest part of the track, traveling nearly 90 miles per hour.
Immediately losing consciousness, he was treated on-site by medical staff and then airlifted to a nearby hospital where he died. Unfortunately, Kumaritashvili wasn’t the first person who suffered at the hands of the extremely difficult track, though he was the only one to lose his life. As a result, changes to the track were made in effort to protect the athletes from further serious harm.
Today, International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge told press the City of Vancouver and the Games should be commended in spite of the tragic death. Furthermore, he stated Kumaritashvili’s death should not affect the way that the Vancouver Games will be remembered.
Personally, I was appalled to read those words, especially coming from a respected Olympic official. To dismiss someone’s life as inconsequential seems terribly insensitive and selfish. That is simply no way to treat the loss of human life.
Valley of Life expresses its sympathies to the friends, family, and country of Nodar Kumaritashvili. We certainly hope the memory of the 2010 Vancouver Games will be impacted by the death of your courageous athlete.