What can Vancouver do in honour of Nodar Kumaritashvili?

Post by Mike Klassen in


Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili

This one has nagged at me over the past couple of weeks. Is there anything the people of Vancouver, the beneficiaries of a great Olympic experience, can do in response to the accidental death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili? Someone asked us that by email, and I turn it over to our readers to consider. Is there a reasonable way those of us blessed to live here can reach out to those impacted by the loss? Just imagine if he flew off course when the TV cameras were on – would we have so quickly forgotten the incident? It's possible that Vancouver's Games would be tainted more than it has as a result.

Unfortunately, it's unlikely VANOC or any local authorities will express anything more than a few condolences because of concerns about liability. Georgian authorities, Nodar's teammates and his family & community can do little more than mourn. However, it's possible that a credible third party could create a fund named in Kumaritashvili's honour in support of athletics in Georgia.

I don't want to sound naive on this. I realize that Georgia is an embattled former Soviet province, undoubtedly beset by problems of corruption. It's possible any money raised will not go to the desired recipients. However, in a poor country like Georgia, a little generosity could go a long way in support of their Olympians.

For our part at CityCaucus.com, the best we can probably do is promote the idea. Can those of us who are so lucky to live in Vancouver find a meaningful way to reach out to Georgia's athletes during this difficult time?


While I sympathize with the family over their loss, the luger was the one person in control of his destiny. It was his need to push his limits in wanting to win a medal that caused the accident. The spectacular crashes on the downhill course were from that same need for speed.

imo, the last thing Vancouverites need to do is create a shrine.

I think that Vancouver, and for that matter Canada should pay tribute by a memorial plaque at or near the accident site or at a venue that displays the Olympic experience ...therefore becomes a display of pleasant and not so pleasant occurance within the period of the Games

Yes, big risks attached to the sport. But didn't we invite him to race on the world's fastest course?

And who's suggesting a shrine? Not me.

Absolutely a memorial should be made to him - something tasteful, artistic and inspirational. This would fit in well in Whistler and remind people to do what they love.

I think an athletic scholarship would also be a wonderful idea. Someone should do something to honor him and to give back to the Georgians - it is the right thing to do.

A very practical action and one I would love to see would be to put out collection boxes at the closing ceremonies. I am sure many people would drop in a loonie or twoonie. Out of 60,000 people or so in the audience, plus the staff onsite, it would be a significant financial help for his family.
I thought about that for the opening ceremonies, but too soon to organize.
probably against IOC rules - who knows?

Send Georia a medal/memorial plaque from the people of Vancouver and Canada...our glowing Canadian hearts were heavy for him, his family and his country...letting them do with it what they choose.

sponsor an athlete from georgia in his name....yes...but how...

It was not about a heroic sacrifice or what Terry Fox did for the community, therefore a shrine or a memorial is not appropriate. It's an accident.
IOC has the moral responsibility. Let them handle that part.
We can take care of human love and the caring side. A letter, some kind words is suffice. All we need is to show that we CARE. People to people, community to community, human to human. It's about caring not money.
City Caucus can find a way to help us deliver cards or letters through the government of Georgia or their Olympic organizers.
We can start from the readers and subscribers of City Caucus.


Heartless. That's all I have to say about your comments.

I would agree that Kumaritashvili's family should be sent an honorary medal in his honour. He came to Canada in search of fulfilling his dream, as did all of the other athletes. There is danger in many of the sports, not just the luge.

The athlete's hunger and need to reach the fullest potential in their sports is what gives the rest of us the excitement and entertainment we enjoy as spectators. It's what inspires us all. It's why the Olympics are what they are, the most important sporting events in the world.

Kumaritashvili gave it all for his sport and his country. Vancouverites can and should respond with huge respect.

how about the IOC helping his home town build that sports venue they had hoped to create.

what was heartless? Do you want Whistler to rename the track? Another post says his family should get a medal. What about Anja Paerson with the massive crash in the downhill? Should she receive a special medal for the effort?

He was a rookie to the sport who tried too hard, he lost control going through the turn. If it had been an experienced luger, the externalities would make sense. But to cloud the issue of his self induced crash( he should have gotten used to the track before going for broke) with a national program for his country is reaching, imo.

btw, if it had been Jon Montgomery I would say the same thing as would he.

I believe there is a Luge track in his hometown that was used by the former Soviet Union that fell into disarray.
I hear there is talk of helping the Georgians to rebuild it, & dedicate it in his honor & renaming it after him.

A fitting tribute I think.

I think a scholarship for a deserving student/athlete could be established in his name with a donation by VANOC would be a deserving and proper way to go.

like this...

There is a small memorial set up in Whistler, along the village stroll for him. The number of flags, pins, flowers and other items left here show that this death has affected more then just the Georgians. Helping to raise funds for a luge track in his name and hometown would be a simple, and honorable thing to do. Accident or not his death affected many and should be acknowledged in some way to show his family and loved ones that we understand and empathize with their loss.

Rename the Whistler Slide Centre

Is it really possible to "test run" these tracks at a much lower speed? Probably he was inexperienced you might say, but the world champion as well as others had accidents and commented that the track was way too fast. The first thing that should be done in his memory is redesign the track so there is no chance that this could ever happen again to anyone, regardless of their experience. Then, I think VANOC / IOC or whoever OK it should create a fund to indemnify his family and a grant in his name for deserving georgian sportsmen. And last but not least an honorary medal.

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