Monday, February 15, 2010

Did Canadian Cheating Lead To Luger's Death?

It's being repeated around the world, but not here. The Canadian media have too much invested in the Vancouver's Olympic Games to rain on the parade, notwithstanding that the weather is doing it anyways.

Around the world voices are being raised about the conduct of VANOC and the Canadian luge federation concerning the track and what is seen as an attempt by Canadian sliders to cheat their way to the podium.
If they are right, it cost young Nodar Kumaritashvili his life.

The track was built  to be very fast and very technical. It passed, just barely international standards.

It was also finished a full two years before the Olympics, so the world's lugers should have been familiar with it. But they weren't.

The story goes that Canada restricted wide access to the track in favour of Canadian sliders who were given carte blanche.
"Also in the run-up to the Games, the Canadians caused a minor scene when they seemingly reneged on a handshake deal with the USA Luge that would have allowed the American sliders the same access at the Whistler track that the Canadians had in 2002 at the Park City, Utah, track." Los Angeles Times

Worse still, the complicated and fast track proved to be even faster than what was planned. When designed on the computer, speeds were predicted to be no more 140 KPH, an acceptable but fast speed and one the athletes were accustomed to.

But when the track was built, the computer model somehow underpredicted the speeds that would be achieved by a whopping 15 kilometeres per hour, something the sliders were not prepared for, at least not without a lot of practice.
Canadian team members had the advantage of over 300 runs each on the track, while the foreign  sliders were allowed no more than 40 runs.

Read Ed Berliner's excellent post  in the Huffington Post, where he explains the whole debacle;
"No mistake. This was planned. We can only assume, in legal parlance, this was done to insure Canadian medals and give them an unfair advantage over the world"
 Canada is getting pummelled around the world.

"Canada wanted to Own The Podium at the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games. This morning they can put their maple leaf stamp on something more instantly tangible: the nondescript little box carrying the lifeless body of Nodar Kumaritashvili back to his home in Bakuriani, Georgia."

While claiming that the accident was strictly a case of a sliding error, the organisers have slowed down the track by moving the start line further down the track.

Ironically, this threw the Canadian slider's advantage right out the window, because the changed dynamics were new to everyone.

If you're a real Canadian, you can't be unhappy about that

1 comment:

  1. That's a bit of a stretch... yeah, Canada... a nation known the world over for cheating. Good one.