I was working away, minding my own business, when I heard an immense groan in the massive working press area known as "the bullpen."
Those people had just seen the crash on TV. I have not seen it and don't plan on seeing it. Watching a young man die is not high on my list of favored pastimes.
Nodar Kumaritashvili, 21, died in an horrific crash during a luge training run yesterday morning. He was traveling an estimated 90 miles per hour when he flew right off the sled and into a pole. Sleds have been known to overturn, but veteran observers, such as my colleague John Powers, said they had never heard of someone being ejected from the sled in that manner.
Danger is part of the deal in some of these sports. The most obvious examples are luge and bobsled, where people attain great speeds with very little protection. A person can sustain great injury, even death, while skiing.
And in these so-called "X-Game" sports the "X" stands for "Extreme." Kevin Pearce was supposed to be here, remember? He's lucky he's alive after a halfpipe maneuver went bad for him. Even the "Flying Tomato" is fortunate he lived to tell the tale after his own header not too long ago.
This is not the way anyone wished to start these Olympics. IOC president Jacques Rogge could hardly get through his afternoon press conference, all of which was devoted to discussion of the Kumaritashvili accident. For me, I like to kid about some of these people being half crazy, but there is no humor to be found in what happened to the young Georgian.
It wouldn't bother me if they said to hell with the luge.