On Saturday, hours after determining that driver error, not unsafe track conditions, led to the death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili, international luge officials, including Svein Romstad (above), have decided to move the starting point of the men's luge runs at Whistler Sliding Centre farther down the track, to where the women's runs begin. The decision was made with the "emotional component" of lugers in mind.
You see what they did there? Instead of admitting the track was dangerous, the officials blamed it on the mental state of luge competitors -- as if to say, "No, no, the track is safe. We're not concerned about the athlete's safety, just their state of mind." What a crock.
If the track is safe, there's no need to move the start. It wasn't, so that's why officials lowered the start by a few hundred feet, which lowered the average speeds by up to 8 mph.
This hypocritical decision supports what Yahoo! Sports' Dan Wetzel wrote earlier today about the sham investigation that officials conducted after Kumaritasvhili's death:
"When the difference between life and death for a world-class athlete is that small, it can't be his fault entirely. Whether there was a chip in the ice surface isn't the issue. It's that the International Olympic Committee sanctioned a course so wicked that Kumaritashvili's troubles began in what athletes dubbed the "50-50 Curve" because those were the odds that you were going to wreck.
All week the drivers were talking about the dangers, pointing to training crash after training crash, leaving the course on edge about what they'd just survived ...
... Why not address the comments from long-time lugers and coaches who claim they'd never seen someone fly off a track like Kumaritashvili did. Perhaps that's because there's never been a track like this before. Or explain why there is a row of metal poles ringing the course in the first place?"
As Wetzel knows, luge officials didn't want to do that because nobody wants to cop to screwing up. It's much easier to take the cowardly way out.