Monday, February 14, 2011

Further inquiry into luge death from Vancouver 2010

As Vancouver celebrates its one year anniversary since hosting the Winter Games, allegations have arose surrounding accountability and blame for the Georgian luger Nodar Kumariatashvili's tragic death. CBC's the Fifth Estate produced an interesting investigation into the case and is worthy of a gander.


Alun Hardman said...

Examining the ‘vulnerability principle’ may assist to determine issues of responsibility in relation to dangerous sports in events such as the Luge.

In particular, where dangerous sports take place in purpose built venues (such as luge and/or bobsleigh tracks) organisers may have a greater responsibility towards safeguarding competitors than they might otherwise for dangerous sports that occur in the context of natural environments.

In the case of Kumaritashvili, the organisers have the principle responsibility to balance the demands of the ‘competitive challenge’ and ‘excessive danger’. Arguably, as the nature of the sport requires providing sufficient challenge to discriminate between the relative technical abilities of the competitors, a slower track would not have detracted significantly from this competitive end. Reducing the speed of the track ought to have provided sufficient competition yet restricted the possibility of dangerous accidents.

Alun Hardman said...

Who decides whether an athlete is sufficiently competent to compete or participate in an activity that is inherently dangerous?

This question raises concerns regarding whether athletes are sufficiently informed to consent to compete.

In the case of Kumaritashvili and the Luge competition at the Vancouver Games, questions can be asked as to whether there had been sufficient time for competitors to familiarise themselves with the Luge track.