Coming from a family of lugers, Nodar Kumaritashvili picked up the sport as a teenager. He débuted in the World Cup in the 2008/2009 season, and the following season he narrowly made the qualification limits for the Vancouver Olympics. In the final turn of his final training run, Kumaritashvili lost control over his sled and was thrown over the course’s boundary. He struck a steel pole with his head and was immediately airlifted to the hospital in Whistler, where Kumaritashvili died of his injuries. The Opening Ceremony, which was held later that same day, featured a moment of silence to remember Kumaritashvili, and the Georgian team marched in the parade of nations wearing black armbands. The eventual winner of the Olympic luge competition, Germany’s Felix Loch, melted down his gold medal and made part of it into a disk with a portrait of Kumaritashvili, and donated it to his parents. His hometown of Bakuriani renamed the street where he was born in Kumaritashvili’s honor.