I thought I was being a bit dickish in my mild ambivalence to Friday's tragic luge accident; perhaps too callous and too cold-hearted in my judgment.
Sadly, I was somewhat right. Fear played a big role.
Luger David Kumaritashvili was terrified of the track.
Much (as I pointed out) as are many other racers.
And fear, in these kinds of sports, is a killer.
Again, is the track built by humans at fault, or is the racer?
That's very difficult to say. However, and again, I would say it ultimately comes down to the luger's better (or lack thereof) judgment on whether he can make it down the track. Athletes are arbiters of their own fate; as in life, they chose the tracks they go down. If Kumaritashvili was so terrified, it was only his ego to compete that killed him. (Granted this would take a tremendous amount of fortitude and introspection, something that most 21-year olds lack, but it's possible.)
In a related note, Yahoo News reported on the "insensitive remarks" (nice objective journalism, by the way*) of a German female luger who said the following:
It’s not a woman’s start (officials moved the starting point down), it’s a kinder (German for children’s) start. The rest of the track is OK, but it's not as fast as from the proper start. It's the same for all the athletes, but I don't like it. I felt very good, but now because of the new start it's not fun."
Hear that? "Not fun?" The track isn't fun for her because it's not fast or dangerous enough now; for Kumaritashvili it was a very different kind of "not fun."
I do not wish to come across as callous, so please know that I believe Kumaritashvili's was tragic. Let's not forget that athletes do things that put themselves in grave and mortal danger at every turn and that that is by choice.
* Who made you judge of what's insensitive and what's not, you faux journalist.