< Back to front pageText size +

Ring of fools

Posted by Charles P. Pierce  February 14, 2010 11:15 AM

E-mail this article

Invalid E-mail address
Invalid E-mail address

Sending your article

It's hard to disagree with anything the estimable Jere Longman has to say in this NY Times piece about the indecent reaction of various smug, overfed buffet-grazers to the highly preventable death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili in Vancouver last Friday. Has it dawned on any of the officials yet that somebody, you know, actually died? This track was dangerous. It was a peril to the health and safety of the athletes expected to perform on it, and it has been ever since it was designed. (How much could it have cost simply to pad those metal uprights?) The reason we know this is because the athletes themselves have been saying it for well over a year. Of course, Rule No. 1 of being an international sports official is Never Listen To The Athletes. Rule No. 2 is Ever! 

Instead, there is some really gamy blame-the-dead-guy stuff being thrown up in the air, and the official excuse for why the officials finally made the track safer, the way they should have last fall, is that the athletes themselves might be too emotionally fragile to handle the track as it was originally designed. Yes, and I am the Tsar of all the Russias.

Luge is a dangerous sport. There are other dangerous sports, in and out of the Olympics. But an inherent risk is a reason to be more safety conscious, not less. If you're building a luge track that you and Isaac Newton know is going to get people going 90-95 mph, then it's your obligation to make all the turns as safe as possible, and to listen to the athletes when they say you haven't, and to accept your share of the blame when it turns out that your reckless arrogance killed someone.
  • E-mail
  • E-mail this article

    Invalid E-mail address
    Invalid E-mail address

    Sending your article

    Your article has been sent.