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Coach was right, this will be a regret for rest of his life...

Discussion in 'The Okie Corral' started by Squaw Man Wolfer, Mar 1, 2010.

  1. Squaw Man Wolfer

    Squaw Man Wolfer

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    Fear prompts bobsledders to quit Olympics
    By Steve Almasy, CNN
    February 25, 2010 6:52 a.m. EST


    (CNN) -- Tom de la Hunty took Dutch bobsledder Edwin van Calker to the Whistler Sliding Center track one last time Tuesday and asked his driver if he could do it.
    He wasn't asking him to win; he was asking him whether he could compete. The coach and his pilot walked the course, and de la Hunty told van Calker to think about it, giving him an hour to make a decision.
    Time offered no healing. Van Calker told his coach he just couldn't drive this track and so on Wednesday the four-man No. 1 sled from the Netherlands pulled out of the Olympics.
    Because their driver was terrified.
    Video: USA advances to semis
    "I've never seen someone get to a major event and not compete because they're scared. You keep your inner fears to yourself and do it," de la Hunty told reporters at a news conference. "That's why it's such a popular sport in the military. It's that kind of macho sport. You go over the top together."
    Van Calker, ranked 11th on the World Cup four-man tour, crashed on his first run during two-man practice on Saturday. That and the memories of other crashes, including one that resulted in two teammates in the hospital, were too much for van Calker.
    He never felt comfortable on the track during the two-man competition when he and teammate Sybren Jansma finished 14th. He and the rest of the four-man team were absent from two training runs on Tuesday, as he struggled with what to do. It didn't help that eight sleds crashed on that first day of training.
    And so that night, he made the decision to give up.
    It's not about performing. It's about surviving.
    --Edwin van Calker
    RELATED TOPICS
    • Netherlands
    • Winter Olympics
    • Whistler Sliding Centre
    "I have to look after my boys and can't close my eyes to that," he told reporters. "For me, it's not about performing. It's about surviving."
    It was a split decision among the team to quit the games, said de la Hunty, who talked about how he told his driver he was making a choice he would regret forever.
    "I've told him that to his face,"de la Hunty said, "but as a coach I have to support it because I'm responsible for him sending his team down the track in the right frame of mind."
    For Timothy Beck, who wanted to continue, it was a heart-wrenching outcome to his last Olympics.
    The man who carried the Dutch flag in the opening ceremonies said there was no tension on the team, but he wasn't the one looking out for three teammates.
    "If you ask me if I want to slide I'd say, 'Yes'. But I don't have to steer; I just get in the back and go down. I don't have the responsibility," said Beck.
    But he also said he was upset that he'd come to his third Olympics and would not get a chance to compete.
    "This was my last chance to do something special," said the 33-year-old, who competed in the 2002 Winter Olympics and the 2004 Summer Olympics on the track team.
    Jansma said he was frustrated because he wanted to show the world the progress the Netherlands has made in bobsled, but safety was paramount.
    Arnold van Calker, the fourth member of the team, supported his brother's decision, pointing to the difference in the size of the two- and four-man sleds. The two-man sled is smaller and easier to control. Arnold van Calker, who had his doubts about the safety of the track, worried his brother had lost his nerve and wouldn't be able to steer the big sled through turns 11, 12 and 13.
    Not even changes to the track on Tuesday could help reassure the brothers.
    "It was a lot better, but for us it was maybe too late," Arnold van Calker said.
    De la Hunty pinned some of the blame on Arnold's wife, saying that she had been worried about her husband's safety ever since Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili had crashed and died on the same track during the first day of the games.
    "When Arnold is scared and upset, obviously it has influence," he said.
    But Arnold van Calker said the death had no influence, and Edwin van Calker agreed that the track was not to blame for his decision.
    "It's a challenging and exciting track. You have to deal with it as a pilot. That comes with the job. Sometimes you deal with it less good," he said. "It's nothing to do with the track, just my lack of confidence at the moment."
    Competition in the four-man competition starts Friday with the medals decided on Saturday after the last of four runs.
     
  2. AZ DBLTRBL

    AZ DBLTRBL Out Of Order CLM

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    Might have been his gut warning him off. Gotta wonder if the other guy had the same gut feeling, but just ignored it. When I was younger, I could ignore that feeling a bit easier....not so much anymore.
     

  3. Gallium

    Gallium CLM

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    I hear ya, AZ.

    When I was younger my gut was WAY SMALLER. My gut feelings today take over my entire body.


    On a serious note...I think time will prove that course was simply evil, and they (IOC et al) knew it.

    'Drew
     
  4. JBJ16

    JBJ16

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    YOUR BLINDSIDE
    Bobsledding?

    . . . . think about it, in almost 35 years of IPSC shooting sports, there was never a fatal accident on record.

    This sport, involved the use of what the anti's call a "tool made for no other purpose but to kill":tongueout:
     
  5. major

    major Rejected member

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    Wow, tough call. Easy to criticize this guy but, what if he was right? I will be the first to admit that you couldn't pay me enough to go down a bobsled track. I have stood right next to the one in Calgary.....no way would I do that.

    I understand that he flipped in a training run and lost his nerve after that. So what if he realized that he just couldn't maneuver down that track? He had lost his confidence at that point.

    This will haunt him for the rest of his life but I really hope that, deep down, he believes that he made the right decision. Unfortunately, none of us will ever know for sure.
     
  6. Free Radical

    Free Radical Miembro Antiguo CLM

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    He realized that his lack of self confidence would endanger his teammates. Possibly fatally. You can second guess this guy all day if you like. I think he did the right thing.
     
  7. Squaw Man Wolfer

    Squaw Man Wolfer

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    I am not second guessing the guy as to whether it was right or wrong, in absolute terms, safe to make the run. And, no way can you get me in a bobsled. But, right or wrong, the world works and thinks in certain ways.

    For the rest of his life, he can look forward to walking into rooms and the conversation dying down. It will be an invisible entry on his resume. But most of all, he will be second guessing himself.

    To a degree, the above apply to the rest of his team. And to his nation. At the Olympics, ya kinda represent your nation, ya know? And what people think about your nation matters. If you doubt that, search for comments about the French on this forum.

    And it matters, a lot. Street cred saves lives and hassle. I'm curious what the standup comics will be saying tonight (Monday).

    Is this fair? "Fair" has got nothing to do with it.
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2010
  8. Gallium

    Gallium CLM

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    On a personal level, you have the right to bail out whenever your guts tell you to.

    When you are an "Olympian", you secede much of that right, much as when you are a firefighter, you don't get to bail out on a 3 alarm fire in progress, or when you are a cop you don't get to run from the gunfight. That is your job.

    Sucks to be him.


    And yes, I also think the track was too dangerous, but they should have had someone from their country's Olympic committee/etc examine the track to ensure it met their standards for safety.

    'Drew
     
  9. ExxoticOne

    ExxoticOne

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    Well, his timing sure did suck but all things considered he may have saved a few lives by NOT competing. And didn't someone get killed bobsledding on the opening day? Is that NOT a weird omen?

    His inner voice was probably saying "Screw a medal, I don't want to be eating through a straw the rest of my life!"

    While it would kill me to let people down it sure beats being dead.
     
  10. OXCOPS

    OXCOPS

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    Looks like another "where are they now" Olympic special I wont be watching in a decade, or so.
     
  11. ExxoticOne

    ExxoticOne

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    At least he won't have to give up a medal for doping!
     
  12. OXCOPS

    OXCOPS

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    Something tells me that'll be legal to by then. May be a third class. Mens...Womens...Beards and Boobs.
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2010
  13. Bilbo Bagins

    Bilbo Bagins Slacked jawed

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    Then I think of the Jamaican Bobsled team when they first came on the scene. Here you had a bunch of guys from a country that never sees snow, with minimal experience and training, and they still dared to compete in this dangerous sport. How much time, training, and sponsorship money when to this 33 year old Dutch bobsledder, and how much his family and parent sacrificed to get him there? For him to just "Chicken out" is kind of sad.

    Here is to the brave Irish women's team who ran the bobsled track, with a lot less training, experience and funding than the Dutch men. :whistling:


    [​IMG]
     
  14. silentpoet

    silentpoet

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    At least he will be alive to regret it. I bet that guy from Georgia would love to have those regrets right now.
     
  15. aircarver

    aircarver Descent Terminated Silver Member

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    If you don't think you're up for something- ..... You're not....
     
  16. badge315

    badge315

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    I guess he shouldn't have watched Final Destination before the competition. :whistling:
     
  17. Spiffums

    Spiffums I.C.P.

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    I disagree. None of the "jobs" you listed are drafted/pain of death if you bail on them. Sure you only get 1 bail and will never be able to hold that position again.......... but you can bail at least once.
     
  18. RichJ

    RichJ

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    Criticize all you want. Someone died during the luge competition so I will give a pro the ability to "read" a track and make an informed decision without busting his balls.

    I got this from Wiki: Bobsleighs can attain speeds well upwards of 150 km/h (93 mph). The top speed ever recorded on a bobsleigh was 189.9 km/h (118.0 mph) and it was recorded by the Swiss team in the 1998 Winter Olympics.

    If you knew there was a very real possibility that you could crash doing anything at 90+ mph, would you do it?

    Edit: after thinking about that last line I considered cars, motorcycles ect. So I'll say it like this, I you had already crashed at those speeds and you were given a greater than 70% chance that you would crash again, would you still do it? Someone with road-rash still on their arms and legs would probably say no.
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2010