Developing News: Tragedy at Vancouver Winter Olympics

Just Hours before the opening ceremonies set to start at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia,Canada ; tragedy struck a member of the Georgian Luge team dies after being thrown from his sled as he was making his last practice turn.

21-year-old Nodar Kumaritashvili of Republic of Georgia was thrown  from sled and slammed into a pole. Paramedics attempt to revive Kumaritashvili failed. Paramedics pronounce dead at a trauma center in Whistler.

With this the International Olympic Committee announced “I have no words,” a teary International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge said, “to say what we feel.”

Each team told of the accident.

The IOC  began an investigation about an hour after accident. The track  closed.Practice sessions were canceled on Friday.

Women Luge will resume on Saturday morning nine hours before the men’s two-day event begins.

“It is a nervous situation,” Latvian luge federation president Atis Strenga said. “It’s a big tragedy for all (of) luge. I hope, we all hope, it’s the first accident and the last accident in this race.”

There’s questions about the design of the track. Many luge team’s  including US Olympic team were upset because they were not allowed to review track course.

“When you are going that fast it just takes one slip and you can have that big mistake,” U.S. doubles luger Christian Niccum said Thursday, when asked about track safety. “All of us are very calm going down, but it you start jerking at 90 mph or making quick reactions, that sled will steer. That’s the difference between luge and bobsled and skeleton, we’re riding on a very sharp edge and that sled will go exactly where we tell it to so you better be telling it the right things on the way down.”

The luge federation must decide the track stay as is or delay the competition so the track’s curves re-shaped.And allow the men to start on the women’s slide  to keep the racers.

NBC Olympic has the rest of the story.

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