An Olympic Tragedy

I had to stop watching the news last week after the luge crash that killed Nodar Kumaritashvili, the luge athlete from Georgia. I didn’t want to see the crash again. Like most people in and around Lake Placid, I know people who slide. They are our neighbors, like John Napier, the bobsledder whose harmless but gruff dog I am afraid of when I run at Mount Van Hoevenberg in the off-season. The young man who died came from the small skiing village Bakuriani. Three of the eight members of the Georgian Olympic Team come from this village; the entire community is in mourning. As members of a small skiing village with a number of athletes in the Olympics, we are reeling.
I didn’t want to write publicly about something so painful, but then last night I read John Morgan’s brave interview in the New York Times about watching his brother crash in the 1981 world bobsled championships in Italy. The Morgan family is a well-known Adirondack clan of excellent athletes, competing mostly in sliding. In 1981 retired USA bobsled champion, John Morgan, was on his first assignment as bobsled analyst for ABC’s Wide World of Sports when he watched his brother’s fatal crash on the track in front of him. Unfortunately, Adirondackers know all too well about mourning an athlete’s death in competition. Our hearts go out to the people in Bakuriani.

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