x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Luge crash death overshadows start of Vancouver Games

A 21-year-old Georgian luger dies after a horrifying crash in training, casting a pall over the Winter Olympics hours before the Games were to be declared open.

Nodar Kumaritashvili pictured at the start of the first training run of the day for the men's singles luge yesterday. He died after crashing on the second run.
Nodar Kumaritashvili pictured at the start of the first training run of the day for the men's singles luge yesterday. He died after crashing on the second run.

VANCOUVER // Nodar Kumaritashvili, a 21-year-old Georgian luger, died after a horrifying crash in training yesterday, casting a pall over the Winter Olympics hours before the Games were to be declared open. Kumaritashvili was thrown off the sled as it bounced over the rim of the lightning fast track at the Whistler Sliding Centre at around 144kph and slammed into a pillar. He was taken away in an ambulance after receiving emergency treatment at the scene and the head of the Georgian Olympic delegation confirmed the death. The crash at a Whistler track, regarded as the fastest in the world, destroyed a mood that had been one of celebration, as Vancouver prepared to welcome the world.

* Reuters