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The 2010 Winter Olympics have kicked off in Vancouver, but not without a tragic start with the death of Georgian slider Nodar Kumaritashvili.

Kumaritashvili was unable to keep control of his sled during a practice run and ultimately flew off the course, which resulted in his death.

To have an Olympic athlete die just before the Opening Ceremonies is devastating. Kumaritashvili’s fans will now watch with heavy hearts as his country mourns the loss of its athlete.

But the luge continued, and changes to the course were implemented to attempt to keep the athletes safer.

There were significant miles-per-hour changes and ice modifications. The men also started from the women’s start line, which was lower.

I think most fans would agree to slow down the course and do whatever necessary to keep the luge competition safe for its athletes.

The men’s luge concluded on Sunday night, with Felix Loch of Germany taking the gold, David Moeller of Germany taking silver and Armin Zoeggeler of Italy taking bronze.

The women’s luge starts Monday.

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