CUT THE LUGAR RUN

J. Grant Swank, Jr.

He was just a youth. He’s now dead.

He should have never “done” the lugar run.

“’He called me before the Olympics, three days ago, and he said, “Dad, I’m scared of one of the turns,”’ David Kumaritashvili said in an interview

“His son, 21-year-old Nodar Kumaritashvili, lost control of his luge on the final turn of the course, the world’s fastest, and slammed into a steel support at 90 miles per hour.

“’I said, Put your legs down on the ice to slow down, but he said if he started the course he would finish it. He was brave,’ Mr. Kumaritashvili’s father said, adding that his son had dreamed of being an Olympian from childhood and could have competed in two more games” per Wall Street Journal’s Samantha Shields.

I wondered when watching the opening ceremonies about the mental and emotional stability of many of those competing.

We know that countless young people are put through such rigorous training because of parents and coaches pushing them to the limit—and for some over the limit.

When they were very young, did they themselves make the choice to enter into such a journey of pain and pleasure? How many did?

How many were put onto the track without their consent? And how many in later years need therapy because of the one-lane lifestyle—train train train with practically nothing but train.

Day upon day. Week upon week. Month upon month. Year upon year.

For those who go back home with no winnings, so it is. They are told that that’s the gamble.

For those who go back home with the winnings, so it is with acclaim. But even they may be scarred.

Naturally we want youth to learn sports and the ups
and downs of competition with like-skilled youth. That should not be denied them.

However, with all of life, there has to be a balance in all things. Where is the balance in these competitive games and the training that leads up to the press?

With the Georgian, my heart aches when knowing
that he confided his fears in his Dad just before his death. They were haunting him. The Dad knew that. No doubt that caring Dad would have liked to have traded places with his son; but of course that was
impossible.

Thinking it over—all the pathos—I keep wondering what is healthy in sports competition and what is unhealthy and who is responsible for the unhealthy.

Read “Luger Who Died Was Terrified of Track” at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703447704575065492351741522.html?mod=WSJ_olympics_LeadStoryCollection

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