Just hours before the official opening ceremonies, Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili died after what is being called a "horrific accident."
Nodar Kumaritashvili went flying off the Olympic luge track at high speed during training practice. He smashed into a metal pillar and was knocked unconscious. He was air-lifted out on stretcher covered in blood and was later pronounced dead.
Some news sources had photos of the injured luger right before his death plastered all over websites, a move that seems quite disrespectful and reminds me of the horror I felt when Michael Jackson's photos on stretcher with air-mask were released.
Kumaritashvili is from Borjomi, a resort town of 15,000 on the Georgian south. The area was an early candidate for the 2014 Winter Games that eventually went to Sochi, Russia.
Coaches and team captains have been told to expect an announcement from the IOC and luge federation by 6 p.m. ET tonight. Meanwhile, the RCMP had begun investigating the crash site, virtually locking down the facility to accredited media.
This is the third known competition or training death at a Winter Olympics. Both previous deaths occurred at the 1964 Winter Games in Innsbruck and one of them came in luge.
With opening ceremonies on a few hours away, it is so sad to have such a terrible accident occur and I sincerely hope the other lugers honour him. There are no words to really deal with this except emotional saddness from the world looking on.