No one can smile on this Opening Olympic day that began, early and cloudy, with the violent death of a bright Georgian star, Nodar Kumaritashvili:
CREDIT: Peter Parks, Getty Images
But for a couple thousand CAD of reinforced nylon barrier tarpaulins, designed to absorb and redirect the free-falling body back into the hard icy cocoon that consittutes his track 'universe', this young man would be alive, bruised and discussing his next run.
Announcements of a investigation can not ignore that exposure (similarly when Swiss skier Silvano Beltrametti hit the mid-finish line (later banned) vertical pylon several years ago, he was paralyzed for life...) to a non-secure, impressive steel structure (surely it will be protected tomorrow: isn't that the way?)... and although no express rules discuss the utility of a safety harness (would the weight of his sled kept him away from Death's Out-Post?), the organizers are going to have to satisfy the second paragraph of the FIL-Luge Rules, Article 3.5:
3.5 Safety regulations
The track layout and components such as curves, walls, bridges, tunnels, transportation set-ups, etc. as well as all facilitities originally belonging to the track must be provided in such a way, that they meet the internationally recognized safety standards.
If the safety regulations on a track are neglected so that the participants in FIL competitions are exposed to a typical danger to their health, the track may only be released by the technical delegate for further use if these deficiencies are removed.
If the steps taken are not sufficient in order to guarantee that the internationally recognized safety standards are followed during a competition, the jury, in accordance with the technical delegates is empowered to shorten the track.
As of midnight, indications are that the luge competition will go on tomorrow. This seems distressing, even to a casual admirer of the sport: what about the other lugers? What about their families? Addressing that situation will transpire away from WADAwatch: we turn to the news of the opening day.
CBS News tells us that "Thirty Athletes Out of Olympics for Doping". The article expresses an interesting thought:
[WADA President John] Fahey confirmed Thursday that more than 30 athletes had been excluded for breaking anti-doping rules over recent months and that the cases include a mixture of positive samples and failure to comply with testing protocols. He refused to give details of the athletes, sports or nationalities but noted that more than 70 athletes were prevented from competing at the Beijing Olympics for violating anti-doping rules in the similar period leading into the 2008 Summer Games.
Now don't take this personally, President Fahey, but obviously there are no cyclists in this group. If any one of those thirty were cyclists, some paper in Europe (whose name escapes us at the moment) surely would have allowed for heady headlines, juicy exposures of suspicions, hunches and insinnuendo.
Noted were the comment made by Fahey, that more than 70 in Beijing had been 'tagged' and withheld from competitions prior to the 2008 Summer Games. Russian athletes "will be under tight scrutiny" after six had been suspended in the last 12 months or so.
Another unique factor: Scott Burns, former Bush Administration Deputy White House 'drug czar' will be leading an international observer commission, that will "for the first time, have the ability to meet on a daily basis with the IOC to report any concerns about the testing process."
Scott, there's still time to bring in an independent expert! Someone that knows the WADA Code nearly as good as its original drafter (maybe better). Just call... WADAwatch is available. We promise not to show up in either of our WADAwatch hooded sweatshirt(s), available in Black or White!
After all, how complicated can a simple urinalysis be?
Is there more to a urinalysis that meets the eye (of any trained bureaucrat)...? Just ask the good Doctor's office in Avon Colorado!
Sometimes the best wayy to experience what these Athletes are going through is to experience yourself the necessity, embarrassment (how crass can one be in joking with the nurse about photographic evidence (pre-sealing of the containers)?), and 'faldoral' of the whole process?
Imagine being a known cyclist; who may be tested once per week or more? Yes, they must. Yes, they should. Yes, they agree. But if it is a different person every time... does it not get old?
But Hey! We're watching Vancouver, with you,
one hundred percent pure
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