No one ever thought defeat could come before the race even started. For Nodar Kumaritashvili of Georgia it came the day prior, in a routine practice run for the luge competition at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada.
After veering into the wall in the final stretch of the course, the rookie Olympian flew off his sled and into a support pole, dying shortly thereafter. In spite of the emotional trauma, Kumaritashvili’s fellow teammates weathered the storm, competing in their beloved teammate’s honor.
To prevent future unexpected tragedies, officials extended safety measures and adjusted the luge course; however, the race and schedule proceeded as planned with only minor delays. The luger was recognized in the opening ceremony as people everywhere grieved for his unanticipated death.
Despite the harrowing setback, the Olympics has brought equally as many memorable victories as sorrows. Alexandre Bilodeau acquired Canada’s first home gold medal, finishing the moguls race in 26.75 seconds. It was certainly an inspiring moment for Bilodeau’s brother sitting on the sideline as well who, once diagnosed with cerebral palsy, was the reason Bilodeau pursued skiing instead of hockey.
On the women’s moguls side, Hannah Kearney won the first Olympic gold for the United States in the 2010 games. After a rough run at the Turin Olympics in 2006, Kearney redeemed herself, clenching finally her long-awaited prize.
In more familiar terms, it seems the Great Plains is not the only place suffering from disagreeable weather. Whistler, the site of the ski resort used in the Olympics, has had to postpone races such as the men’s super-combined and women’s training and snowboardcross as well due to detrimental conditions.
However, weather doesn’t stop the world’s most athletic people from competing. The Americans lead the medal count, followed by Germany, France, Canada, South Korea, Norway and Austria as the second week of the 2010 Olympics approaches.
Yevgeny Plushenko of Russia will return in the men’s figure skating with hopes of maintaining his golden glory from Turin. Men’s and women’s curling, men’s speed skating 1500 m, and men’s and women’s hockey are also among the events still remaining. Read more at msnbc.com or check out vancouver2010.com.