02.15.10 8 years ago 5 Comments

Despite the IOC’s washing of hands to absolve the luge track in Whistler for any blame in the death of Georgia’s Nodar Kumaritashvili in training just hours before the opening ceremonies, the committee made changes to the course in order to reduce speeds and, ergo, keep lugers from becoming an endangered species. But not everyone is happy with the changes, especially this luger with one of the greatest names ever [emphasis added].

“It’s slow,” said Austria’s Manuel Pfister, who was clocked at almost 96 mph on Thursday. “It’s completely different. Yesterday, I was able to slide with the medal ranks, today it’s another race. It’s difficult for me. Maybe it’s now too easy.” –AP.

The staring line was moved down the track for both the men’s and women’s courses, and the finish line was moved up past where Kumaritashvili collided with a steel support beam; that area has been reinforced by a 12-foot wooden wall.

[German] Tatjana Huefner, who was fastest down the track in the day’s two training runs, even suggested that the athletes might require a different luge if starting from the juniors’ start.

“It’s the rule and I’ll make the best of it,” the World Cup leader and reigning Olympic singles bronze medallist said. “But you need another sled for this or you need to prepare the sled differently. –AFP.

It’s asking a lot for a group of athletes to suddenly modify their race strategies before the biggest event in their lives. That said, even the smallest crash in the luge events will be under tremendous scrutiny, and this snafu has to be chalked up to Vancouver’s greed to see records broken in its games. It reminds me of the time when I covered the Slip n’ Slide at the family picnic with AstroGlide. You know, as opposed to the time at the “company” picnic. That was totally different.

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