Thursday, 19 June 2014

CAUGHT On Film: The Fatal Crash of Luger Nodar Kumaritashvili

Nodar David Kumaritashvili (November 25, 1988 – February 12, 2010) was a Georgian luger, who suffered a fatal crash during a training run for the 2010 Winter Olympics competition in Vancouver, Canada, on the day of the opening ceremony. He became the fourth athlete to have died during Winter Olympics preparations, after British luger Kazimierz Kay-Skrzypeski, Australian skier Ross Milne (both Innsbruck 1964), and Swiss speed skier Nicolas Bochatay (Albertville 1992), and the sixth athlete to die in either a Summer or Winter Olympic Games.

Georgian postal stamp commemorating Kumaritashvili | Source
By December 31, 2009, the cut-off date for luge qualifications for the Olympics, Kumaritashvili was ranked 38th overall. As he had also raced in the minimum of five World Cup races over the previous two years, he qualified for the luge men's singles event at the 2010 Winter Olympics, which would be his Olympic debut.
On February 12, 2010, Kumaritashvili was fatally injured in a crash during his final training run at the Whistler Sliding Centre when he lost control in the penultimate turn of the course and was thrown off his luge and over the sidewall of the track, striking an unprotected steel support pole at the end of the run. He was travelling at 143.6 km/h (89.2 mph) at the moment of impact. At a test event in 2009, a luger had clocked a record 153.937 km/h (95.652 mph) on the same track, prompting Josef Fendt, president of the International Luge Federation (FIL), to comment: "It makes me worry."

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

CAUGHT On Film: Failed Parachute Attempt by Franz Reichelt

Franz Reichelt, also known as Frantz Reichelt or Fran├žois Reichelt (1879 – February 4, 1912), was an Austrian-born French tailor, inventor and parachuting pioneer, now sometimes referred to as the Flying Tailor, who is remembered for his accidental death by jumping from the Eiffel Tower while testing a wearable parachute of his own design. Reichelt had become fixated on developing a suit for aviators that would convert into a parachute and allow them to survive a fall should they be forced to leave their aircraft. Initial experiments conducted with dummies dropped from the fifth floor of his apartment building had been successful, but he was unable to replicate those early successes with any of his subsequent designs.

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