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Video of Luge Accident Pulled from Web

by Andrew Kagan 13. February 2010 04:38

The fatal luge accident that killed Georgian Olympic hopeful Nodar Kumartashvili during a training run in Vancouver Feb. 12 was widely reported within hours of its occurrence. Initially videos were posted on liveleak.com that showed the entire crash, which then exploded across youtube and other media-sharing websites. In the wake of complaints against the visceral footage, news organizations hastily edited out the final milliseconds showing Kumartashvili's impact against the steel stantion that killed him, and then, citing copyright, had all incidences of the footage pulled from the web within 24 hours.

But was this a copyright issue, or are their other legal issues afoot? Reports are circulating in the blogosphere that the IOC asked that the video be withdrawn pending an internal investigation, amid a flood of negative reporting that warnings of teams, coaches and competitors of the dangers of the track design went unheeded before and during trials leading up to Kumartashvili's death. At a hastily convened press conference Friday night, "Olympic Officials" (not officially representing the IOC) announced that they would make "minor changes" to the "track configuration" and "ice profile" prior to the first official runs this weekend.

But what is more likely is that the video has been pulled pending legal action brought against the IOC by Kumartshvili's family, in an attempt to limit the negative publicity it has engendered for the IOC. The only thing one can be sure of is that the video will be reproduced, ad infinitum, during the trial.

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