Luge officials move the start to slow down the sleds

Slow Down

Following the death of Olympic competitor Nodar Kumaritashvili, Olympic luge competitors will now be starting at a lower ramp in an effort to reduce speeds on the Whistler Luge track, this despite an ‘investigation’ earlier which ruled out track design as an issue in the death.

Men are now starting from what was the women’s start ramp, and women are now racing further down the track from the ‘juniors’ starting gate.  This move should slow down speeds along the course.  The course will now be 575 feet shorter and speeds should be reduced about 6 mph.

However, many are acknowledging that the technical changes are not really the issue right now, but that mental changes are in order.

“You have an emotional component and you have a technical component,” Romstad said, his voice cracking as he tried to explain why what seems a fairly superficial fix is being instituted. “None of our athletes . . . They lost a friend yesterday. It’s an emotional experience, something they haven’t been through before.”