Wednesday, February 17, 2010

"I would rather die than be called a woman"

That's the message I am getting after the start of the men's single luge competition was moved farther down the track in an attempt to temper the high speeds that seemed to result in the death of Georgian luger, Nodar Kumaritashvili,* during a training run last Friday.
This story is not breaking news of course, but I started to hear the grumbles about the start's move pretty much the day it started. Why? Well, one because it corroborates the party line that Kumaritashvili died because of luger error and not because of the course, which is on record as the fastest in the world. And one would think that given the pride those involved in the endeavor had over the speediness that they would have taken certain precautions. But I guess all that hubris gets in the way of covering steel beams with padding.
But the second and more relevant (to me) reason for the disgruntledness is because the new start is the women's singles start. I am sorry--it was where the women were slated to started. But since they moved the men's start, apparently they had to move the women's start--to the juniors start. Because we certainly cannot have the women competing from the same starting spot. Such a threat to these male athlete' masculinity and apparently to their personalities if you listen to American luger Tony Benshoof. His "driving" personality has been muted by the lower start and the slower speeds and the overall easier course, he says. Oh my god! He's becoming a girl!!
Because now the course, some allege, is "too easy." Apparently so easy a girl could do it. But they can't because, as I noted, their start has been moved down to where the children compete. (Note too that the conditions have been pretty lousy because of warm temps at Whistler.)
So this whole thing reminds me (without the tragic component, of course) of golf (the tees)--but on ice and more dangerous. I wonder if there's a "dicks out" equivalent in luge?

*I have it really strange that in most of the television coverage, Kumaritashvili's name is rarely mentioned. He is referred to as "the Georgian luger" or "the young Georgian luger." I have to believe that if this was a westerner who had died, the name would be used repeatedly. It was a very strange "silence."


Diane said...

I think they don't say his name much on NBC because it is one of those "foreign" names that is hard for them to pronounce.

The longer these games go on, the worse the organizers look. Not only did they move the women's luge start to the junior starting point, but they taped the Olympic rings to the starting point instead of painting them. Of course, the tape had to be removed.

The complaints of the male luge competitors are getting a lot of publicity. The women are complaining just as much, but we aren't hearing about it in the mainstream media.

Anonymous said...

I thought that the women being moved to the junior start because they can't possibly have the men and women going from the same start - what might that imply - sounded pretty insulting to the women, but it just seems to have been reported without comment. More in the vein of the ski jumping debacle I suppose. Katharine UK