Nodar Kumaritashvili, a Georgian luger, has died from one of the most horrible accidents imaginable just hours before the official start of the Olympics. Kumaritashvili lost control of his sled, went over a wall, and slammed into a metal support beam. Observers said his sled was traveling nearly 90 mph.
The 21-year-old was knocked unconscious, then immediately administered CPR and air-lifted to a Whistler hospital where he died. The 2010 Games would have been Kumaritashvili's first Olympics.
Kumaritashvili's crash occurred at the fastest part of the track, which steeply declines for 152 meters, making it the world's longest luge drop. This is the third crash there in the last two days. Earlier on Friday, defending gold medalist Armin Zoeggeler of Italy lost control but suffered no injuries. On Thursday, female Romanian luger Violeta Stramaturaru crashed and was air-lifted from the track. Her injuries are not considered serious.
Our prayers and condolences go out to Nodar Kumaritashvili's family.