Fresh Eye on the Radio: No fun at the Olympics

No doubt you know by now that a luge competitor at the Olympic games in Vancouver died when he went off the track today. Caution: Graphic video.

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More than a dozen athletes have crashed during Olympic training for luge, and some questioned whether athletes from smaller nations had enough time to prepare for what is apparently a dangerous track in a dangerous sport.

In late 2009, there were complaints that Canadian authorities were limiting training access at some of the Olympic venues, although at the time the seriousness of the allegations gave way to a comedy bit by Stephen Colbert that mushroomed after Colbert criticized Canadians and American speedskater.

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Funny at the time, obviously, but it might well be that the need for more access to Olympic facilities — especially for the most dangerous sports — will be reassessed by authorities for the future if the athletes are endangered.

I raised the “training access” issue during the daily chat with The Current’s Mary Lucia, knowing our friends at the Canadian consulate (big Current fans) would be listening. Amy McBeth at the Consulate, however, reaffirms Canada’s love for Minnesotans, by reminding me of this press release I previously ignored:

Canada’s top diplomat in the Upper Midwest says he wishes the best of luck to all Minnesota athletes competing at the Vancouver Winter Olympics beginning February 12.

“Minnesotans should be proud their state has produced more athletes on the US team than any other state. Canada looks forward to welcoming them to Vancouver,” says Consul General Martin Loken. Loken is appointed by Canada’s Prime Minister to represent the Government of Canada in the Upper Midwest region and to oversee Canada’s Consulate General in downtown Minneapolis.

Minnesota’s nearly two dozen confirmed 2010 Olympians will be among the 5,500 athletes and team officials from 80 countries competing at world-class venues in Vancouver and Whistler, British Columbia, February 12 to 28, 2010.

“Minnesotans and Canadians share a passion for winter sports. It’s one of the many bonds that draw Canada and the United States together as the closest of friends, allies and neighbors,” adds Loken.

The Games will showcase Canadian business and innovation. For example, Canadian environmental technologies are playing an important role in making the 2010 Winter Games the most sustainable Games to date. The Government of Canada is a proud partner of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, investing more than $1.23 billion to ensure their success.

Canada’s Consulate General in Minneapolis works to promote trade and investment links, to engage citizens and decision-makers on matters of shared interest, and to assist Canadians living and traveling in the US. This year the office is celebrating 40 years in the Twin Cities. Canada is the only country with a Consulate General in Minnesota. Throughout the year, the Consulate General will hold a number of events with partners marking the 40th anniversary and the special Canada-Minnesota relationship. More information is available at

In any event, the death casts a show over the competition and festivities that start this evening.

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  • Kassie

    I really wish I wouldn’t of watched that. Horrible.

  • Shannon

    Fog is neat. Makes me think I live somewhere coastal.