Friday, February 12, 2010

Huh? Luge? A Dangerous Sport?

Today's terrible luge accident before the Olympic Games even start, casts a terrible shadow over the usually joyous Opening Ceremonies. It even has officials talking about canceling the luge.

If there's something flawed with the track, it's a good idea to fix it. Then get on with the Games.

The Winter Games are loaded with inherent danger. The downhill. Super G. Ski jumping. Boblsed. Hockey. Speed skating. Biathlon (athletes use .22s, for Cris sakes). Skiing cyclocross. Freestyle aerial skiing.

And, of course the luge.

Just you laying on your back on a tiny sled, going down a sheet of ice at 80MPH+.

What could possibly happen?

Hmm, I'll take 'Death' for $200, Alex.

Sorry to be flippant, but death did happen. And death might happen again.

Every single Winter Olympic athlete participating in one of aforementioned sports knows that the Games are about testing an athlete's limits.

Except maybe one.

“I think they are pushing it a little too much,” Australia’s Hannah Campbell-Pegg told the Associated Press on Thursday after she nearly lost control in training. “To what extent are we just little lemmings that they just throw down a track and we’re crash-test dummies? I mean, this is our lives.”

If I were to meet her right now, I might say something like the following:

"Well, sweetie, if you were that concerned about your life you wouldn't be a luger in the first place, so there's that. Second, if you shit your polyester suit over a near crash and it's got you thinking that you might lose your life, here's an idea: quit. And quit now. A little fear is good; a lot of fear is God shouting in your ear and you should listen. Third, if you're operating under the illusion of safety, or you think you're entitled to a certain expectation of safety, you're placing your faith in the wrong being. The technology to protect you is only as great as the being that created it; since that thing is made by humans, and humans are terribly flawed but beautiful and well meaning creatures, it's possible for shit to happen. If you're uncomfortable with all or even just part of this, then get out. Stay alive. If not, well, best of luck. And God be with you."

And if she won't listen to me, maybe she should heed the words of a fellow slider:

"This track is fast and you definitely have to be on your game...." said 5-time Olympian Mark Grimmette.

Being on your games at the Games?

Seems reasonable.

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