Vancouver Olympics: Georgian Luger Dies in Accident

Death marred the first day of the Vancouver Winter Olympics when a member of the Georgian team died in a training accident just hours before the opening ceremonies. Georgia’s Nodar Kumaritashvili died after his sled flipped while running at about 90 mph. The 21-year-old was thrown off the track and hit a steel pole.

Paramedics immediately rushed to the Whistler Sliding Center and tried to resuscitate Kumaritashvili, but the athlete later expired. The head of the Georgian team, Irakly Japaridze, said they are considering pulling out of the competition. “We are all in deep shock… We don’t know whether to take part in the opening ceremony or even the Olympic Games themselves,” he said.

The accident occurred while Kumaritashvili was finishing his sixth and final training run. Investigations have been launched to establish the cause of the accident. Earlier, Italian gold medalist Armin Zoeggler also crashed but did not suffer any serious injury.

You can watch the video of the crash here.