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Nodar Kumaritashvili

Luger / Olympian

Born: 25 November 1988
Died: 12 February 2010 (luge crash)
Birthplace: Bakuriani, Georgia (then part of the Soviet Union)
Best known as: The luger killed at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver
Nodar Kumaritashvili is the luger from the country of Georgia who was killed during a practice run just before the opening of the 2010 Winter Olympics. Kumaritashvili died on 12 February 2010, as he was taking his second training run of the day at the Whistler Sliding Center track. Kumaritashvili got off line in the track's 15th turn and then crashed coming out of the 16th turn, just before the finish line. He flew off the track and directly into an unpadded support beam. He was declared dead at a nearby trauma center. The opening ceremonies of the Games were held that night; Georgia's other athletes marched in the ceremony with black armbands. The track was already known as the fastest in the world and some athletes had warned that speeds of nearly 100 miles per hour would be dangerous. However, hours after Kumaritashvili's death, Olympic officials called it an "extremely exceptional accident," and the luge competition went on as scheduled at the Olympics.
Extra credit: Nodar Kumaritashvili was one of eight athletes from Georgia in the Olympics; the rest of the team included one other luger, three alpine skiers and three figure skaters... Nodar Kumaritashvili was 5'10" tall and weighed 176 pounds, according to his profile at the official site of the Olympic Games.

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