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Athlete Death Casts Pall Over Vancouver

The death of a luge athlete from the Republic of Georgia cast a pall over the Vancouver Winter Olympics just hours before the Opening Ceremonies are set to go off.

Nodar Kumaritashvili, 21, was killed during a training run on Friday (Feb. 12) when he lost control of his sled on a turn and crashed into a metal pole. He was approaching speeds of 90 miles per hour on a course that multiple luge athletes in Vancouver have characterized as treacherous.

CNN and Fox News updated viewers on Kumaritashvili’s death put spent little time on the story. MSNBC, the cable news arm of U.S. Olympics rights holder NBC Universal, led the 4 p.m. hour with a report from Vancouver.

(MSNBC will also carry coverage of Olympic events including hockey, curling and skating.)

Video of the Kumaritashvili’s crash quickly hit YouTube. But by the time an International Olympic Committee official confirmed the death around 3 p.m. ET, the IOC had invoked its copyright on the material and began scrubbing it from YouTube and elsewhere.

Wire service pictures of the crash from Getty and the Associated Press depict a bloody Kumaritashvili receiving CPR from medics.