There have been a few athletes who have unfortunately lost their lives in the lead up to the Winter Olympic Games, but none have lost their lives during official competition. The most recent is the death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili, killed in a training run crash just prior to the start of the 2010 Games in Vancouver.
Previously, Australian skier Ross Milne and British luger Kazimierz Kay-Skrzypeski lost their lives while training for the 1964 Games at Innsbruck, and Swiss speed-skier Nicolas Bochatay died at the 1992 Albertville Games after colliding with a snow grooming vehicle. An Austrian Team Doctor Jorg Oberhammer also died in a ski collision during the 1988 Winter Olympic Games in Calgary. See also about Summer Olympic Games Deaths.
Nodar Kumaritashvili, 2010
Georgian luge athlete Nodar Kumaritashvili was tragically killed in a training run crash after flying off the Olympic track in Whistler, Canada in the day before the 2010 Vancouver Games were to begin. His death resulted in changes to the luge course and ice profile, and there is ongoing criticism of the sliding course design which was faster than previous tracks. Others blamed it on his inexperience and error. Either way, it was a freakish accident that any meticulous planning may not have avoided.
Nicolas Bochatay, 1992
Nicolas Bochatay, a 27-year-old Swiss skier, died at the 1992 Albertville Winter Olympics after colliding with a snow grooming vehicle. He was casually warming up with a teammate before the finals of the speed-skiing demonstration competition when he swerved off a course at Les Arcs and crashed head-on into the machine, and was killed instantly of "numerous internal injuries." The accident occurred one day before the Closing Ceremonies.
Ross Milne, 1964
Australian downhill skier Ross Milne lost his life while training for the 1964 Games at Innsbruck, Austria. He was 19. He died when he went off course and struck a tree during a practice run, a few days before the Game began. He apparently was trying to avoid other skiers on the slope.
Kazimierz Kay-Skrzypeski, 1964
Polish-born British luger Kazimierz Kay-Skrzypeski lost his life while training for the Luge at the 1964 Games at Innsbruck. He died during one of the training runs on the Olympic course two weeks before the Games began. This was the first-ever Olympic luge competition.
- Summer Olympics Deaths
- Winter Olympians — profiles of great athletes from the Winter Olympics
- Winter Olympics Trivia