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Albrecht - Page 4

post #91 of 92

I don't think this was posted here before; from Bode Miller's diary at Universal Sports, an entry titled "Ski Racing is a dangerous sport" (www.universalsports.com/ViewArticle.dbml}



(Posted Jan. 26, 2009) SCHLADMING, Austria -- I saw the Albrecht training crash from a TV at the top of the Hahnenkamm. It was pretty aggressive. It’s scary to see someone go down right in front of you, but I’m pretty good at putting it out of my head and not dwelling on it. If you go out there and give 100 percent on some of these courses, the chances of hurting yourself are really really high. A lot of racers went down in the actual race too. TJ Lanning hurt his knee and a bunch of other guys crashed out.

There’s not much that can be done to make the sport safer. The risk and danger is just a part of it. With all the safety netting, I think some guys have a false sense of security. I’m pretty aware of the dangers involved. There are a lot of different ways you can mess yourself up. It’s just you, your skis, helmet and tiny spandex suit. You don’t have much protection. When you go down, you go down really hard. On that hill in particular, the crash zones are really tough and unforgiving.

Let me repeat one line in particular from above: "The risk and danger is just a part of it. With all the safety netting, I think some guys have a false sense of security"


Wow. This is from a guy who is known for thinking outside of the box, if anything. A guy who never takes equipment for granted and is actually actively working on improving (at least his own) equipment, a guy who actually complained about the dangers of the course prep at Kitzbuhel last year, a guy who probably  has given the dangers of the sport more than just a passing thought.


So for Bode Miller to not only state that there isn't much that can be done to make the sport safer, but that he accepts those risks, and that some of the current safeguards may in fact be causing the racers to feel overconfident to the point of injuring themselves....well, then he must be just CRAZY, right?


I'm not trying to talk shit on anybody's opinions, and while I could probably have used more articulate language when I called "the same old arguments retarded", I stand by the basic sentiments in that statement. It seems the majority of those who think the risks of downhill racing are unacceptable would probably always think they are unacceptable, no matter what was done to improve it.


On the other side, there are those of us who have willingly accepted those risks and some of us continue to do so, and so would probably think too much intervention to change downhill racing to make it "safe" would probably ruin it by making it slower, less challenging, less exciting, not downhill, or basically LESS RISKY. That doesn't mean any of us are crazy, stupid, foolish or blind to the dangers, it just makes us able to accept higher conditions of risk.



post #92 of 92

Let me briefly respond to an earlier post by emtnate regarding Albrecht's fall:


emtnate said:


"Also to the people stating various speeds of crashed. The impact of the skier to the ground, especially in Albrecht's case really isn't that fast. Gravity acts on all objects the same, like RR said, 9.8 m/sec(squared) which is about 32 ft per second or 21 mph. Not that fast compared to his ground level speed of 80 mph, but the impact on his head and back is still significant. In EMS in the US it is generally accepted that falls from a height greater than 15 feet need to be treated in a trauma center. From the video, I'd estimate his vertical fall to be between 30-40 ft from the height he hit the jump until he landed."


my comment:


In a really high speed fall, the issue is not the gravitational acceleration right before the crash (not off a jump, going 65 mph, falling from a tuck is only a short distance to the ground, but I don't recommend it.)  It's that if you hook an edge, a small fraction (but still painfully substantial portion) of that forward energy is converted into rotational energy, as your legs slow, your upper body essentially pivots, slamming into the ground.  And the amount of kinetic energy involved in a crash as you increase speeds is exponential.  (the kinetic energy of a body in motion is mass times the square of speed) so a skier at 60 mph is managing not twice the kinetic energy of a skier going 30 mph, but rather four times (and 16 times the energy of a skier going 15 mph.)  That is the kinetic energy involved in a crash, which you want dissipated over a long distance, not all at once.


(Hit a tree square and stop, even at recreational skier speeds, and it's a LIBE--life insurance benefit event; catch an edge and slam forward into the ground at even higher speeds, bouncing and sliding for another 20 plus feet, and it's merely a MIBE--medical insurance benefit event.) 

For an example, let's look at this less than eleven second clip of Daron Rahlves' crash in the Adelboden GS a few years ago:




1.  This is only GS speeds, something like 45 mph.


2.  Look how he gets launched end over end as just a small portion of the forward energy causes him to somersault through the air.


3.  Note the foam barrier at the end, which does not stop Daron suddenly (which would have been at least an MIBE) but merely slows him and saves the crowd.  By design.


Daron was sore, but fine, and in the next race on the WC circuit a week or two later, took a silver medal (in SG, IIRC.) 



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