Death at the Olympics

Do you think the Canadian Olympics Committee was culpable in the death of Nodar Kumaritashvili on the luge track? The Mounties ruled that the death was due not so much to the track, though it had already been criticized as way too fast, but to the 21-year-old Georgian’s inexperience. But now it comes out that the Canadians restricted the amount of practice they allowed on the track to everyone but their own team. The Canadian lugers had 200 practice runs. The young Georgian only had 26. This Canadian is calling foul.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Pete

    The modifications that were made to the track subsequent to the Georgian’s death are a tacit admission that the track could have been safer. Nevertheless, rocketing down a hill at speeds of up to 90 mph without much in the way of protective gear is quite a bit of hubris and is likely to have fatal results once in awhile.

  • Pete

    The modifications that were made to the track subsequent to the Georgian’s death are a tacit admission that the track could have been safer. Nevertheless, rocketing down a hill at speeds of up to 90 mph without much in the way of protective gear is quite a bit of hubris and is likely to have fatal results once in awhile.

  • Matt

    Only 26 practice runs? Seems like Nodar or his coach had plenty of chance to protest the track condition before this happened. No one forced him to go down that track.

    This is obviously a very dangerous sport. Nodar’s father was also an olympic slider so he knew what he was doing and the risk. It looks to me like a bunch of sports writers with approximately *zero* prior knowledge of sliding sports are trying to gin up a controversy.

  • Matt

    Only 26 practice runs? Seems like Nodar or his coach had plenty of chance to protest the track condition before this happened. No one forced him to go down that track.

    This is obviously a very dangerous sport. Nodar’s father was also an olympic slider so he knew what he was doing and the risk. It looks to me like a bunch of sports writers with approximately *zero* prior knowledge of sliding sports are trying to gin up a controversy.

  • Winston Smith

    Let’s face it, almost all Olympic sports are fraught with peril (with the possible exception of curling). Have you ever seen a skier wipe out at 60 mph, flying into the fences with nothing for protection but a skintight bodysuit? A figure skater could fall and break her neck after a badly-executed triple lutz. It takes away nothing from the tragedy that occurred last week to say that all athletes understand the risks going in.

    Is the tendency to “push the edge of the envelope” — to constantly refine the sport to coax ever-greater performances out of man and equipment — contemptuous and disrespectful of human life? If so, the responsibility lies both with the organizers and with the athletes who participate voluntarily.

    I did not know that Canada restricted other teams from practicing on the luge run. That sounds a little bit like dirty pool.

  • Winston Smith

    Let’s face it, almost all Olympic sports are fraught with peril (with the possible exception of curling). Have you ever seen a skier wipe out at 60 mph, flying into the fences with nothing for protection but a skintight bodysuit? A figure skater could fall and break her neck after a badly-executed triple lutz. It takes away nothing from the tragedy that occurred last week to say that all athletes understand the risks going in.

    Is the tendency to “push the edge of the envelope” — to constantly refine the sport to coax ever-greater performances out of man and equipment — contemptuous and disrespectful of human life? If so, the responsibility lies both with the organizers and with the athletes who participate voluntarily.

    I did not know that Canada restricted other teams from practicing on the luge run. That sounds a little bit like dirty pool.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    As others note, luge is inherently dangerous, but like Pete notes, changes made to the track do indicate that the Canadians are at least guilty of failing to make the track’s failure mode as graceful as possible.

    I expect a massive civil suit, and I expect the estate of the Georgian to win on dual grounds; first, the near-disasters of the best lugers in the world demonstrate the course is too close to the edge for even the world class, and second, the repair of the metal posts demonstrates that competent “luge engineers” were admitting that there was a horrendous gap in measures to protect lugers who lose their sleds.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    As others note, luge is inherently dangerous, but like Pete notes, changes made to the track do indicate that the Canadians are at least guilty of failing to make the track’s failure mode as graceful as possible.

    I expect a massive civil suit, and I expect the estate of the Georgian to win on dual grounds; first, the near-disasters of the best lugers in the world demonstrate the course is too close to the edge for even the world class, and second, the repair of the metal posts demonstrates that competent “luge engineers” were admitting that there was a horrendous gap in measures to protect lugers who lose their sleds.

  • Reg Schofield

    Concerning the practice runs and limiting them ,this has been a thing that every country has practiced , not just Canada. I’m not saying that it is right but that is a fact .
    The problem I have is I do not believe all safety conditions were put into place. Exposed beams , a low wall at the end ,lack of padding etc..No question sliding down a ice slope , on a sled with only a helmet for protection seems insane but every safety precaution should be in place.
    Plus since this was a very challenging track as well (perhaps too much so), should the young Georgian Luger been on the team? When you participate in a an extreme sport you have to except the dangers as well . Still a very sad thing to have watched a young man die in a sporting event .
    If I was his father I would launch a civil suit . I do think factoring all the evidence of the limit runs, the lack of safety precautions and the legitimate question did this track go beyond safety parameters , he will win.

  • Reg Schofield

    Concerning the practice runs and limiting them ,this has been a thing that every country has practiced , not just Canada. I’m not saying that it is right but that is a fact .
    The problem I have is I do not believe all safety conditions were put into place. Exposed beams , a low wall at the end ,lack of padding etc..No question sliding down a ice slope , on a sled with only a helmet for protection seems insane but every safety precaution should be in place.
    Plus since this was a very challenging track as well (perhaps too much so), should the young Georgian Luger been on the team? When you participate in a an extreme sport you have to except the dangers as well . Still a very sad thing to have watched a young man die in a sporting event .
    If I was his father I would launch a civil suit . I do think factoring all the evidence of the limit runs, the lack of safety precautions and the legitimate question did this track go beyond safety parameters , he will win.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Reg, I read somewhere that other countries were much more open to letting any athletes from any country use their facilities whenever they wanted. Obviously, people who live nearby a certain track will be able to use it more than those from the other side of the world, but from what I read, Canada imposed additional restrictions that other countries were already complaining about.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Reg, I read somewhere that other countries were much more open to letting any athletes from any country use their facilities whenever they wanted. Obviously, people who live nearby a certain track will be able to use it more than those from the other side of the world, but from what I read, Canada imposed additional restrictions that other countries were already complaining about.

  • DonS

    If it is true that Canada limited access to its track more than other host countries have done in the past, especially given the fact that it was some 10 miles per hour faster than any prior track, that is a questionable sportsmanship issue. But, I’m not sure it’s a safety issue. Whether you have 26 training runs or 200 training runs, everyone still has to take his first run, and I would think that it is during your early runs that you are at the most risk. Of course, I’m not a luger or bobsledder. Perhaps there are things you can do to get used to the run while keeping your speed down, and then you can ramp up as you get more comfortable. In that case, 26 runs may not have been a sufficient enough number over which to ramp up before having to attain competitive speeds.

    It seems odd that the Canadians are claiming that the accident was 100% due to human error, yet the walls were raised and a wooden wall to protect sliders from the exposed steel beams was constructed overnight. Hindsight is 20-20 of course. Back in the 50′s automotive engineers thought sharp steel points on the dashboard were cool design features, until passengers started getting impaled in accidents. So, maybe the designers of this $100 million track really couldn’t conceive that anyone would fly over a three-foot wall while negotiating a 260 degree turn at 96 miles per hour. Who knows?

  • DonS

    If it is true that Canada limited access to its track more than other host countries have done in the past, especially given the fact that it was some 10 miles per hour faster than any prior track, that is a questionable sportsmanship issue. But, I’m not sure it’s a safety issue. Whether you have 26 training runs or 200 training runs, everyone still has to take his first run, and I would think that it is during your early runs that you are at the most risk. Of course, I’m not a luger or bobsledder. Perhaps there are things you can do to get used to the run while keeping your speed down, and then you can ramp up as you get more comfortable. In that case, 26 runs may not have been a sufficient enough number over which to ramp up before having to attain competitive speeds.

    It seems odd that the Canadians are claiming that the accident was 100% due to human error, yet the walls were raised and a wooden wall to protect sliders from the exposed steel beams was constructed overnight. Hindsight is 20-20 of course. Back in the 50′s automotive engineers thought sharp steel points on the dashboard were cool design features, until passengers started getting impaled in accidents. So, maybe the designers of this $100 million track really couldn’t conceive that anyone would fly over a three-foot wall while negotiating a 260 degree turn at 96 miles per hour. Who knows?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Pete said (@1), “The modifications that were made to the track subsequent to the Georgian’s death are a tacit admission that the track could have been safer.” Really? So you expected that the Canadian officials would do nothing after a man died on their track? And you think this would have sat well with the athletes and the public? “Well, a man just died, but they’re not doing anything about that section of the track in response, so clearly it was the man’s fault.” Um, I don’t think so. The Canadians were under pressure to do something even if they thought the track was perfectly safe.

    But I guess someone will second-guess them, either way.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Pete said (@1), “The modifications that were made to the track subsequent to the Georgian’s death are a tacit admission that the track could have been safer.” Really? So you expected that the Canadian officials would do nothing after a man died on their track? And you think this would have sat well with the athletes and the public? “Well, a man just died, but they’re not doing anything about that section of the track in response, so clearly it was the man’s fault.” Um, I don’t think so. The Canadians were under pressure to do something even if they thought the track was perfectly safe.

    But I guess someone will second-guess them, either way.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 8: I agree with your line of reasoning regarding hindsight, but the Canadians cannot honestly take the position that the track was perfectly safe unless they admit that it is acceptable that a mistake by a slider on a run should result in him hurtling off the track and into an exposed steel beam at 95 miles per hour. In other words, even if they believe the accident was 100% due to human error, they really can’t be saying that such human error should routinely have such heinous consequences, can they?

    To me, the results of the fatal crash make it beyond dispute that the track could be safer. In fact, it is now clearly safer. Of course, whether the modifications, in total, are an emotional overreaction is another issue. If you screen the exposed beams and raise the height of the track sides, do you really need to move the start line down to reduce speeds? I don’t know. Some are arguing no.

    The real issue is whether those responsibile for the track design, especially since they knew they were pushing the performance envelope, should have known that such an accident as occurred, with its tragic results, was reasonably likely. It’s NOT, imo, whether the Canadians granted enough practice access to the track, for the reasons I stated in my prior post.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 8: I agree with your line of reasoning regarding hindsight, but the Canadians cannot honestly take the position that the track was perfectly safe unless they admit that it is acceptable that a mistake by a slider on a run should result in him hurtling off the track and into an exposed steel beam at 95 miles per hour. In other words, even if they believe the accident was 100% due to human error, they really can’t be saying that such human error should routinely have such heinous consequences, can they?

    To me, the results of the fatal crash make it beyond dispute that the track could be safer. In fact, it is now clearly safer. Of course, whether the modifications, in total, are an emotional overreaction is another issue. If you screen the exposed beams and raise the height of the track sides, do you really need to move the start line down to reduce speeds? I don’t know. Some are arguing no.

    The real issue is whether those responsibile for the track design, especially since they knew they were pushing the performance envelope, should have known that such an accident as occurred, with its tragic results, was reasonably likely. It’s NOT, imo, whether the Canadians granted enough practice access to the track, for the reasons I stated in my prior post.

  • http://www.scyldingsinthemeadhall.blogspot.com The Scylding

    Actually, the International Luging Association concurred with the organisers assessment. But apparently some competitors were dissapointed in the lower start etc – one has to remember that this is a sport of daredevils. But I did appreciate (if that’s the right word) the way they handled the tragedy during the opening ceremonies. Especially the whole crowd getting up to show their respect/sympathy to the Georgian team.

  • http://www.scyldingsinthemeadhall.blogspot.com The Scylding

    Actually, the International Luging Association concurred with the organisers assessment. But apparently some competitors were dissapointed in the lower start etc – one has to remember that this is a sport of daredevils. But I did appreciate (if that’s the right word) the way they handled the tragedy during the opening ceremonies. Especially the whole crowd getting up to show their respect/sympathy to the Georgian team.

  • Peter Leavitt

    I read an internet article that made sense. The Georgian fellow was inexperienced and didn’t slow down before that tough curve. The initial course was challenging and excellent.The better of the competitors view the change of course, as favoring the lesser lugers. Of course, the Canadiens, timid souls as they tend to be, made the politically correct decision.

  • Peter Leavitt

    I read an internet article that made sense. The Georgian fellow was inexperienced and didn’t slow down before that tough curve. The initial course was challenging and excellent.The better of the competitors view the change of course, as favoring the lesser lugers. Of course, the Canadiens, timid souls as they tend to be, made the politically correct decision.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@9), I presume I know as much about luging as you do. But here’s the thing: a human body flying into anything at “95 miles per hour” is likely to be fatal. I’m not convinced that there’s a lot you can do to alter that fact.

    “They really can’t be saying that such human error should routinely have such heinous consequences, can they?” I thought conservatives were all about people owning the consequences of their actions. This man knew what he was getting into, didn’t he?

    Even driving 95 mph can result in “such heinous consequences”, and that’s surrounded by a heavy, protective metal shell, not hurtling at that speed on a tiny sled wearing little more than a helmet. And yes, many, many people die every year while driving. It’s a risk we all take when we get into the car. But should we therefore close down all the roads? Dozens of people die per year skiing at much slower speeds than 95 mph. Should we close all the ski areas? Or accept that certain activities are just that risky?

    Peter (@11), glad to know there’s no topic you can’t twist to your Culture War ends. Also, they don’t speak French so much in Vancouver. FYI.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@9), I presume I know as much about luging as you do. But here’s the thing: a human body flying into anything at “95 miles per hour” is likely to be fatal. I’m not convinced that there’s a lot you can do to alter that fact.

    “They really can’t be saying that such human error should routinely have such heinous consequences, can they?” I thought conservatives were all about people owning the consequences of their actions. This man knew what he was getting into, didn’t he?

    Even driving 95 mph can result in “such heinous consequences”, and that’s surrounded by a heavy, protective metal shell, not hurtling at that speed on a tiny sled wearing little more than a helmet. And yes, many, many people die every year while driving. It’s a risk we all take when we get into the car. But should we therefore close down all the roads? Dozens of people die per year skiing at much slower speeds than 95 mph. Should we close all the ski areas? Or accept that certain activities are just that risky?

    Peter (@11), glad to know there’s no topic you can’t twist to your Culture War ends. Also, they don’t speak French so much in Vancouver. FYI.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 12: Of course, there is extreme risk in sliding, for the reasons you stated. But, in the event of a crash, it is and has been known that the slider should be contained on the track, rather than being permitted to launch through the air to unknown destinations outside of the track area. Many sliders have survived such accidents, as long as they remain on the track.

    I don’t know where you’re going with the “conservatives” crack. Sure, I assume both liberals and conservatives agree that Winter Olympics athletes assume a lot of risk when they engage in such dangerous, high speed activities. But, that doesn’t mean that you don’t do what you can to engineer the worst of the risk out of the activity, does it? I mean, it wasn’t really that hard to raise the height of the track walls and screen the steel pillars, was it? Even at 95 MPH, I would rather hit a plywood wall then a steel pillar. Maybe my chances aren’t great either way, but at least there’s a little give in the plywood.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 12: Of course, there is extreme risk in sliding, for the reasons you stated. But, in the event of a crash, it is and has been known that the slider should be contained on the track, rather than being permitted to launch through the air to unknown destinations outside of the track area. Many sliders have survived such accidents, as long as they remain on the track.

    I don’t know where you’re going with the “conservatives” crack. Sure, I assume both liberals and conservatives agree that Winter Olympics athletes assume a lot of risk when they engage in such dangerous, high speed activities. But, that doesn’t mean that you don’t do what you can to engineer the worst of the risk out of the activity, does it? I mean, it wasn’t really that hard to raise the height of the track walls and screen the steel pillars, was it? Even at 95 MPH, I would rather hit a plywood wall then a steel pillar. Maybe my chances aren’t great either way, but at least there’s a little give in the plywood.

  • Joe

    To me the question is how safe do you want to make it. Its supposed to be a dangerous sport.

  • Joe

    To me the question is how safe do you want to make it. Its supposed to be a dangerous sport.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@13), my whole point is that it seems they did “engineer the worst of the risk out of the activity” — as others have noted, even the International Luge Federation thought so. The possibility of death remains, all the same. If you concede that your “chances aren’t great” whether you hit a “plywood wall” or a “steel pillar” at 95 mph, then aren’t you basically asking the Olympics organizers to engage in pointless CYA* activities just so it looks like they’re doing something in response?

    And, seriously, I thought that conservatives hated it when (a) someone knowingly engages in a risky activity and (b) injures themselves due to their own fault and (c) there is nonetheless popular clamor for the corporate entity not at fault to do engage in some pointless “mitigating” behavior. Like, say, print a warning label on a cup of hot coffee.

    *Don’t worry, everyone. “A” here stands for “arse”.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@13), my whole point is that it seems they did “engineer the worst of the risk out of the activity” — as others have noted, even the International Luge Federation thought so. The possibility of death remains, all the same. If you concede that your “chances aren’t great” whether you hit a “plywood wall” or a “steel pillar” at 95 mph, then aren’t you basically asking the Olympics organizers to engage in pointless CYA* activities just so it looks like they’re doing something in response?

    And, seriously, I thought that conservatives hated it when (a) someone knowingly engages in a risky activity and (b) injures themselves due to their own fault and (c) there is nonetheless popular clamor for the corporate entity not at fault to do engage in some pointless “mitigating” behavior. Like, say, print a warning label on a cup of hot coffee.

    *Don’t worry, everyone. “A” here stands for “arse”.

  • DonS

    tODD, the International Luge Federation is calling for improved safety:
    http://buzz7.com/sports/international-luge-federation-calls-for-improved-safety-after-athlete%E2%80%99s-tragic-death.html

    And Mr. Fendt, an official of the federation quoted in the article, indicated that he and many others expressed concern about the safety of the track in November 2008, during an international training week conclave.

    Moreover, no one had died in a luging event like this since 1964. That’s a long time, and a lot of events without a death.

    There’s no way they engineered the worst of the risk out of the activity, in view of what happened. A guy crashed, and launched off the track, hitting a steel pillar. That’s the worst of the risk, by definition. The question isn’t whether safety could be improved (obviously, it could be and has been improved), it is whether, absent hindsight, the Canadian officials should have known that safety improvements should be made.

    There are relative “aren’t greats”. Maybe if you hit the plywood wall, your chances are 50-50, whereas they are zero if you hit the steel pillar. Neither are great, but I’ll take the 50-50 every time. Won’t you?

    Are your seriously equating raising the side of the track and covering steel pillars with printing a warning on a cup of coffee? Should they just have put a sign at the top “Caution — dangerous high-speed track ahead — proceed at your own risk”?

    It’s CYP (Cover Your Pillar).

  • DonS

    tODD, the International Luge Federation is calling for improved safety:
    http://buzz7.com/sports/international-luge-federation-calls-for-improved-safety-after-athlete%E2%80%99s-tragic-death.html

    And Mr. Fendt, an official of the federation quoted in the article, indicated that he and many others expressed concern about the safety of the track in November 2008, during an international training week conclave.

    Moreover, no one had died in a luging event like this since 1964. That’s a long time, and a lot of events without a death.

    There’s no way they engineered the worst of the risk out of the activity, in view of what happened. A guy crashed, and launched off the track, hitting a steel pillar. That’s the worst of the risk, by definition. The question isn’t whether safety could be improved (obviously, it could be and has been improved), it is whether, absent hindsight, the Canadian officials should have known that safety improvements should be made.

    There are relative “aren’t greats”. Maybe if you hit the plywood wall, your chances are 50-50, whereas they are zero if you hit the steel pillar. Neither are great, but I’ll take the 50-50 every time. Won’t you?

    Are your seriously equating raising the side of the track and covering steel pillars with printing a warning on a cup of coffee? Should they just have put a sign at the top “Caution — dangerous high-speed track ahead — proceed at your own risk”?

    It’s CYP (Cover Your Pillar).

  • Joe

    “Caution — dangerous high-speed track ahead — proceed at your own risk”?

    The Georgian slider made an informed decision to slide.

    The folks who built this run (as all run builders do) struck a balance between safety, speed, excitement and danger. The International Sliding Federation has access to the track for two years and did not do anything about all these now so important safety concerns. The Georgian had been down the run, had the collective knowledge of other sliders and their comments had a coach to advise him and he made a choice to take the risk. And sadly, he ended up dead.

    The track has been open for two years; sliders have been calling the final corner where he died 50-50 because that was the chance you had of not crashing on that corner for sometime. And, this guy is the only slider who has died and I believe he is the only guy who ever left the track during a crash on that corner. I am not going to blame Canada for this.

  • Joe

    “Caution — dangerous high-speed track ahead — proceed at your own risk”?

    The Georgian slider made an informed decision to slide.

    The folks who built this run (as all run builders do) struck a balance between safety, speed, excitement and danger. The International Sliding Federation has access to the track for two years and did not do anything about all these now so important safety concerns. The Georgian had been down the run, had the collective knowledge of other sliders and their comments had a coach to advise him and he made a choice to take the risk. And sadly, he ended up dead.

    The track has been open for two years; sliders have been calling the final corner where he died 50-50 because that was the chance you had of not crashing on that corner for sometime. And, this guy is the only slider who has died and I believe he is the only guy who ever left the track during a crash on that corner. I am not going to blame Canada for this.

  • DonS

    Joe @ 17: Of course, the warning sign suggestion was a joke.

    Actually, it is curve 13 that is the 50-50 curve. Kumaritashvili died on curve 16.

    Joe, if you read my posts above, you will see that I agree with you. At this juncture, any attempt to blame Canada for this accident is wholly based on hindsight, which is ridiculous, and the thing I hate most about American torts jurisprudence. I am sure this thing will be investigated ad infinitum, and litigated for years, and we will know the whole story in excruciating detail before it is over. However, the above being said, there is no question this is serious. There hasn’t been an Olympics luge death since 1964 — it is a dangerous sport with a great chance for a crash and significant injuries, but athletes don’t expect to die on the track and they don’t expect to leave the track when they crash. Canada and the IOC had no choice but to take mitigating steps to make the track safer, and it was the right thing to do in view of what happened. It’s a shame for the Canadian athletes that they lost all of the advantage they had tried to gain by the extra practice on the faster run, but in view of the lives at stake, it’s a fair trade-off. We’re talking about medals vs. human lives, after all.

  • DonS

    Joe @ 17: Of course, the warning sign suggestion was a joke.

    Actually, it is curve 13 that is the 50-50 curve. Kumaritashvili died on curve 16.

    Joe, if you read my posts above, you will see that I agree with you. At this juncture, any attempt to blame Canada for this accident is wholly based on hindsight, which is ridiculous, and the thing I hate most about American torts jurisprudence. I am sure this thing will be investigated ad infinitum, and litigated for years, and we will know the whole story in excruciating detail before it is over. However, the above being said, there is no question this is serious. There hasn’t been an Olympics luge death since 1964 — it is a dangerous sport with a great chance for a crash and significant injuries, but athletes don’t expect to die on the track and they don’t expect to leave the track when they crash. Canada and the IOC had no choice but to take mitigating steps to make the track safer, and it was the right thing to do in view of what happened. It’s a shame for the Canadian athletes that they lost all of the advantage they had tried to gain by the extra practice on the faster run, but in view of the lives at stake, it’s a fair trade-off. We’re talking about medals vs. human lives, after all.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    One other thought; the “exoneration” of the track came pretty much the day after the accident, if not the day of. As someone who works in engineering, I assure you that any serious analysis of an engineering problem does not generally occur overnight, and a consensus between two governing bodies does not, either. You don’t get the calculation done, you certainly don’t proof it, and you definitely don’t come to a consensus with (hopefully) two different models being compared and contrasted in 24 hours or less.

    Unless, of course, the decision is a political one, not an engineering one. Again, the real engineering calculation was to shorten the course and put up a new barrier, not to declare the course safe. If the deceased’s family desires to sue, millions of loonies will be theirs for the taking.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    One other thought; the “exoneration” of the track came pretty much the day after the accident, if not the day of. As someone who works in engineering, I assure you that any serious analysis of an engineering problem does not generally occur overnight, and a consensus between two governing bodies does not, either. You don’t get the calculation done, you certainly don’t proof it, and you definitely don’t come to a consensus with (hopefully) two different models being compared and contrasted in 24 hours or less.

    Unless, of course, the decision is a political one, not an engineering one. Again, the real engineering calculation was to shorten the course and put up a new barrier, not to declare the course safe. If the deceased’s family desires to sue, millions of loonies will be theirs for the taking.

  • Joe

    Bike, perhaps the issue was already known and considered before the guy died and they just made the decision that the very reomote chance it would actually happen did not justify modifying the course. Isn’t just as likley that the new wall and the lower start point were the political decisions ?

  • Joe

    Bike, perhaps the issue was already known and considered before the guy died and they just made the decision that the very reomote chance it would actually happen did not justify modifying the course. Isn’t just as likley that the new wall and the lower start point were the political decisions ?

  • Joe

    Don – I knew your warning was created in jest but I think it is spot on.

  • Joe

    Don – I knew your warning was created in jest but I think it is spot on.

  • DonS

    OK, Joe. Fair enough. We probably should add something about those with heart and back problems, or those that are pregnant not riding, because it is a “turbulent, high speed ride”. Also, maybe we throw in a warning about not drinking hot coffee during the ride because of the risk of spills.

  • DonS

    OK, Joe. Fair enough. We probably should add something about those with heart and back problems, or those that are pregnant not riding, because it is a “turbulent, high speed ride”. Also, maybe we throw in a warning about not drinking hot coffee during the ride because of the risk of spills.


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