Olympic-esque Blog Day 17

Nodar Kumaritashvili’s death is a big part of what will be remembered about vancouver 2010. Anytime an athlete dies that will leave a mark on an event. For me the Luge Federation’s horrible attempt to blame Nodar himself the next day is why I thought I’d open up the last blog with it. One of the lowest points of an Olympics I’ve seen.

Also saying the track wasn’t dangerous but then putting in various changes because it clearly was showed how two-faced they were. Case where I don’t blame the IOC but it fell on VANOC. Various racers leading up to these games warned them about it. Luge, Skeleton and Bobsleigh are treacherous no matter what. When they are worried about a track you listen and don’t blow them off. From Yahoo Sports.

http://sports.yahoo.com/olympics/news;_ylt=Alv.pDB1r3.MaOUfKofavKA5nYcB?slug=dw-winnerslosers022810&prov=yhoo&type=lgns

LOSER: Vancouver Organizing Committee

It was obvious they had built a sliding track in Whistler that was too fast and too challenging. Luge athletes were complaining from the start of practice. Then Nodar Kumaritashvili died when he was ejected from the track and into a steel pole. They slowed the luge track, yet then watched bobsledders struggle to make it down later in the Games.

Later, documents, emails and other smoking guns became public that showed concern about the track from officials, including those within the International Luge Federation. Luging is a dangerous sport, but there is no need to make it this difficult. The death of Kumaritashvili should be used to improve safety going forward. It was a terrible and unfortunately lasting moment from these Games.

Those athletes take risks everytime they race so it takes a lot for them to raise a red flag. Similar to race car drivers.

Takes a lot for me to agree with Jacques Rogge but I did in some quotes he’s said in the last few days. He said the IOC didn’t set the standards for the Whistler track.

“But we are morally responsible. Our responsibility is to make sure that no unnecessary risks are taken. There will always be risk in sport but it has to be reasonable. And the athletes take a lot of risk themselves.”

“The IOC has been very clear in saying to the Russians [2014 Winter Games] please deliver us a track that will be not hazardous. We never ask for more speed on the ice. Never. There has never been any requests to say you should go faster, it should be more difficult. This is something that clearly emanated from the international federation who approved the design.”

About Kumaritashvili’s death compared to other Olympic tragedies.

“It will be a part of the Games. It would be stupid to say the opposite. Just ask about what happened in Munich. What happened in Munich is part of the Games. What happened in Atlanta is part of the Games. There is no way you can isolate it.”

Rogge said the death affected him “very strongly,” and he didn’t sleep for two nights.

“In my profession, you are used to seeing people pass away, but for acceptable reasons, because of disease, because of age. [Rogge was a practicing physician.] And when you see a young athlete pursuing his dream of participating in the Olympic Games and end up in such an accident, it hurts.”

CTV Sunday morning had Rod Black and Jamie Cambpell on. I said before on the blog how I wasn’t a fan of his play by play. I do like him as a broadcaster. Always heard good things about people meeting him as well. Host asked them near the end what you would remember most about these games. Jamie gave the brutally honest answer.

The face of luger who died. Jamie was at the Broadcast Centre that Friday preparing for the sports he was going to call on Saturday. He saw the crash on TV, possibly before most of us had even heard about it. Once he heard he died he admitted he broke down. Betting CTV was looking for the first Gold Medal on home soil story from Jamie. Some things are more important.

Still haven’t watched an Olympic Gold Medal hockey game since 1994 between Canada and Sweden. Don’t like the professionals at the games. That’s it. I have to say the pros are the only ones who I saw cause anger in people the last 2 weeks. Where I work we had a lot of people come by and watch parts of the Olympics on a TV we have in the lobby. If Canada didn’t win in other sports no one got angry.

End of the Canada-Switzerland game which Canada won I saw angry people. Think I quoted this before but one guy before the shootout. “These Motherf$%kers get paid millions of dollars and they can’t beat the Swiss”. Didn’t hear anything like that if a speed skater finished 4th. More swearing at the team at the end of the Canada-Slovakia game.

Reading Twitter tonight and the word “relief” came up alot. Not happiness as much as people relieved they won. A bit strange. Felt much more happiness online when Moir/Virtue won. Tweets from women crying during that so it was memorable reading.

I’ll have one more Olympic-esque blog tomorrow as I catch up on things I missed. I’m a big sports fan but I know sports are a fun distraction. Nothing more and nothing less. Enjoy the game while watching it however it shouldn’t eat away at you if your team loses. Was my opinion of Canada or self worth going to change if the country didn’t win the ‘battle of the millionaires’ ? No, that be crazy. Tomorrow is another day win or lose.

In June it’s the world’s biggest sporting event of the year. 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Winter Olympics are big, but not World Cup of Soccer big. Don’t kid yourself. Those fans border on the insane from time to time. Killing a player for scoring on his own net for example. Not everyone knows the story about Andres Escobar. Scored on his own net against the USA in 1994. A month later in Columbia he was shot 12 times as the shooter reportedly yelled “GOAL!” after each shot. Whether the murderer was hired by Colombian drug syndicates who had bet heavily on the game was never proven. You can imagine that would be difficult and dangerous to prove in that country. The murderer was sentenced to 43 years in prison, then reduced to 26 years. And he only served 11 after being let out for ‘good behaviour’. No, that’s not fishy at all. To also show how big soccer is his funeral was attended by a few people. 120,000 to be exact.

Dark side of sports but let’s hope nothing approaching that happens this time. Does put “crazy hockey fans” in perspective though. Imagine a hockey player getting hurt at all for making a mistake. Unfathomable.

Remember Vancouver 2010 is not over yet. Even though some of the TV coverage would have you believe it is. The Paralympics start on March 12th. CTV/Rogers is doing more coverage than CBC has done. Didn’t see it but Brian Williams even said he’s hosting it. Glad they’re finally giving those games their due. I’ve tried to watch in the past but it would be tape delayed till late at night. CTV, TSN and Sportsnet showing it. We’ll see how they do. I’ll be here to write about it.

Thanks to Olympic Price Watch for linking to the blog yesterday.  I’ll post tomorrow any updates from the site.  Let’s hope the bad ones smarten up before the Paralympics start.

Quite easy to sum up the games’ ups and downs. Got the new Peter Gabriel CD as he covers various artists. Does a song by Randy Newman from 1968. Vancouver in one sentence over the last 2 weeks.

“Human kindness is overflowing and I think it’s going to rain today.”

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