Powered by TypePad

« Hard Though It Is To Root For Goldman Sachs... | Main | Goldman Sachs And Casinos »

April 20, 2010


Jim Ryan

Was there a team of good physicists and mechanical engineers on the investigation? If not, then we don't know that the high-speed track wasn't the root cause.


of course not. The fastest track in history had nothing whatsoever to do with the accident. It was all that crazy luger's fault.

The business of self absolvification has never been better.


Lawsuits by athletes are very tough because of the doctrine of assumption of risk. Was this luge track as safe as it appeared? Luging as a sport is so dangerous that it is very forced to answer that question in the negative.
That being said, I think the builders of the track were trying to optimize speed at the cost of everything else, including safety.

Bob and Doug McNewton

F=m, eh?


And yet, when they made adjustments after the accident to slow down the athletes, they complained.


From TM's Link:

"He was propelled from the course while traveling at an estimated 90 miles per hour. Speeds at the track, designed by Udo Gurgel of Germany, were supposed to peak at about 85 m.p.h."

From ">http://www.zimbio.com/Vancouver+Luge+Track/articles/f6kRuOkEm00/Vancouver+Luge+Track+Crash+Videos"> a story immediately after the crash:

"With a top speed at 93 mph, the Vancouver luge track is currently the fastest luge track in the world, and its safety has been drawn into question several times... “We have innumerable rules within our luge regulations – but so far we haven’t thought of setting a speed limit,"said International Luge Federation (FIL) President Josef Fendt."


I think there is something to the notion that some athletes who make it to the Olympics are not of Olympic caliber but make the trip because there is little competition for that sport in their country.

So the question becomes do you build a track that is safe for the lowest ability of all the athletes or do athletes assume the risk?

Captain Hate

The business of self absolvification has never been better.

I almost felt conflicted or guilty for being happy when the IOC gave Preznit B+ a failing grade; kind of a lose/lose situation.


What kind of engineer leaves exposed steel support beams on the outside of a luge curve? Either extend the curve's outer wall upward so that a rider can't be thrown into a beam, or place the beams on the inside of the curve. What is so hard about that? I can't believe leaving such exposed beams isn't a design flaw for a luge track.


What kind of engineer leaves exposed steel support beams on the outside of a luge curve?

True, but I'm not sure how many good scenarios there are that start with a guy being propelled at 90 MPH in some random direction. Those beams might have spared the poor guy a more agonizing end.

Charlie (Colorado)

Did anyone mention to anyone involved that gravity is just the same (to within a very small fraction of a percent) there as anywhere else on Earth?

Old Lurker

Come on Charlie, you can't be serious. Why just last week CNN said it was too cold as far north as Iceland for there to be volcanos. Surely gravity goes down as the distance to DC increases? Next you're going to claim light goes slower there too (or was it faster?).

Rob Crawford

So the question becomes do you build a track that is safe for the lowest ability of all the athletes or do athletes assume the risk?

What a sad state we've been reduced to where we simply cannot state: "You climbed into the ring, you knew what the bull could do."

And, hey, how about the FDA's new plan to regulate salt content?


Hey, Nanny Mayor Bloomberg was pushing for banning salt from restaurant food in NYC. LUN

Melinda Romanoff

or, centrifugal force overcame centripetal force and he was ejected from the course in the ensuing acceleration.

Don't see much info like that in there.

Old Lurker

Jimmy, now I have to make room in my basement for salt...beside the 100W bulbs I'm saving up for my lifetime? Not to mention that high VOC lead based paint that does such a nice job on my porch.

Old Lurker

...not to mention the DDT we use against bedbugs and the Chlordane the termites hate so much. It's all back there beside the asbestos insulated boiler.


Don't forget the transfats! And cyclamates!

Old Lurker

You have any idea how long it took me to eat all those apples?


can't we just sign a waiver that says if we F up it's on us? Shit, it's easier to buy a joint here in California that to kill a mosquito.

Having seen some spectacular crashes in my time, every athlete who steps onto a field or track has to sign a waiver. I myself will never forget the high hurdles in 9th grade. The hurdles at that time were made from the leftovers from railroad trestles and I am still traumatized.

At the same time, management of said field/track has the obligation to provide a reasonable expectation of not getting killed if using the facility in the manner in which it is intended.

The Olympics are a notable exception. If an athlete meets the minimal qualification standard for an event or receives a waiver (rarely given), they can compete. There are many occasions when an athlete should clearly not be in the middle of the field, but national sovereignty has a lot to do with this.

In 1988, the Jamaican bobsleigh team made so much money selling T shirts they were able to purchase "last years'" 4 man sled from the Swiss in the week between the 2 man and 4 man competitions. They had exactly 2 practice runs therein. Thusly incompetent in driving a 4 man sled, when they went down the hill in competition, they crashed spectacularly.

One can also cite Eddie the Eagle, the British women's ice hockey team, or anything having to do with firearms and participants from third world countries.Just because one can doesn't mean one should, but then we wouldn't have those wonderful parades of nations that last 5 1/4 hours.

As to the aforementioned Jamaicans, they actually qualified legitimately for their slot in the 2 man, and ended up ahead of the US team in 1988. Word.

Rob Crawford

can't we just sign a waiver that says if we F up it's on us?

ISTR that waivers are worthless. You can still sue, despite signing a waiver. The waiver MAY help convince a jury you knew what you were doing was dangerous, but that's about it.



I am not a luger so your mileage may vary.

anduril (not really)

Fast Facts

* USA Luge first achieved Olympic success at the 1998 XVIII Olympic Winter Games in Nagano, Japan with silver and bronze medals in the doubles’ competition.
* USA Luge matched its Olympic success from the ’98 Games, winning silver and bronze in the doubles’ event of the 2002 XIX Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City, Utah.
* USA Luge doubles teams have won four overall World Cup titles (1997, 1998, 1999 and 2003) and two overall Challenge Cup crowns (2002 and 2003).
* USA Luge has earned almost 550 medals in senior and junior international competition, since 1994, making USA Luge the most successful Winter Olympic National Governing Body (NGB).
* USA Luge made team history by sweeping all three medals in a Dec. 1996 World Cup doubles event in Lillehammer, Norway.
* USA Luge has captured 16 World Junior Championship titles.
* USA Luge has captured two gold, four silver and seven bronze medals in Senior World Championship events.
* USA Luge has captured 26 Senior World Cup wins since 1994.
* Luge is the only sliding sport measured to the single thousandth of a second.
* Speeds in luge can exceed 95 mph.
* The United States has two full-length, certified, Olympic-style luge tracks (Park City, Utah and Lake Placid, N.Y.).
* The average luge run has a vertical drop of 30 stories (300 feet).
* USA Luge’s Frank Masley and Cameron Myler have carried the U.S. flag into the Olympic Winter Games’ (OWG) opening ceremonies (Masley in 1984 in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia, and Myler in 1994 in Lillehammer, Norway). Mark Grimmette was one of eight athletes to carry the World Trade Center American Flag into the 2002 OWG opening ceremonies.


LUN Most Transparent White House Ever...

From the comments - "Obama changes "Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy to "Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Film, Don't Report" policy"

I believe this same area in front of the White House is where Code Pink held a shoe throwing fest about George W. Bush.



Jane says obamasucks

Daddy, are you still grounded?


Hi Jane,

Yes, but they now say the logjam may break in my case in about 24 hours.

Since we are sort of on call we have to stay near the hotel, so I can't go booming off on longer excursions to the Taj Mahal etc, and I have to do quick hits around town. Its not my favorite layover, but its so very interesting that I've got no complaints at all. Beats working.


daddy old man;

did you read about the cricket scandal breaking over there? It seems the MP from Thiruvananthapuram and former undersecretary general of the United Nations, Mr. Shashi Tharoor put up his girlfriend, Sunanda Pushkart, as a minority owner in the Cochin franchise.

He had only been an MP for one year. Not a bad gig if you can get it.Sounds like what's happening in Washington.



Just posted it on the latest link. Great minds...

Rob Crawford

I am not a luger so your mileage may vary.

I own a couple of Rugers. Do those count?


only if you shoot the lugers, Rob (suitable Bill Murray reference here.

Stephanie says Obama sux

Since this is a sports-ish thread and maybe it won't be offensive to some quarters posted here (and if it is, oh, well sux for you!):

K's HS Girls Golf team finished 1st at the region tournament today with a 187 (in the rain) and all 4 golfers in the top 10. Heading for Reynold's Plantation on May 2 for the state tournament.



Gee, Old Lurker, nothing will beat HALON (still available on E-Bay) as long-term materiel investment.


Let's not forget the original formula Glass Wax. (not the current water based useless stuff.)

The comments to this entry are closed.