Dutch (Re)Treat: Bobsled Driver Refuses to Race on Canadian Course

Dutch bobsledder Edwin van Calker and this four-man team pulled out of the Olympic competition after the driver said that he was terrified of using the track. It is a major slap at the Canadian designers who have been criticized since the death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili on the luge track.

Van Calker told his coach he just couldn’t drive this track despite being ranked 11th in the World Cup. He crashed on his first run during two-man practice on Saturday. Eight sleds crashed on the course.

Once again (here and here), I ask where is the Olympic four-man torts team barreling down the track with waivers and complaints?

For the full story, click here.

11 thoughts on “Dutch (Re)Treat: Bobsled Driver Refuses to Race on Canadian Course”

  1. Any juggler will tell you, “in gravity we trust”. More than in politicians at any rate.
    Mespo, winning a gold medal is much more than financial gain. I could understand (although not recommend) someone willing to take risks for that.

  2. Tom D. Arch:

    “What sort of padding is needed to address the impact of a human body traveling at 100mph?”


    Maybe the 100 mph should be addressed, or the logic of suggesting that every mishap would involve such high levels of force, but I would simply suggest adequate netting anterior to padded posts. We do it to save baseballs, maybe we can do it to save lives.

  3. I know that I don’t know enough about sliding sports and their tracks to tell whether the crashes and the fatal accident are abnormal enough to say that this is a problematic track design.

    If you’re going to complain about “unpadded columns” then you have to answer the question, “What sort of padding is needed to address the impact of a human body traveling at 100mph?” Once you figure out what that padding would have to be, you’ll probably see why there wasn’t padding on those columns.

  4. Jericho,

    If you thought that this was an insult, you have somethings to learn. That was not an insult in the least. Dutch beer good stuff. I am or should I say was a connoisseur of fine beers. Then after the first 6 I then did what most beer drinkers do. Guzzle it on down and then rent the damn stuff after that.

    No offense was intended. If I need to apologize then pray tell elaborate a little more. If I had said the following: “African beer smells like elephant piss” That would be a true in my mind. As it does smell like elephant piss. If you want me to say something negative about Dutch beer. At this point in my journey of life I cannot.

  5. “Of four runs, in two runs we almost went over in (curves) 11, 12 and 13. It doesn’t do my confidence any good, it is my problem area. … Last year we had two brakemen (his brother Arnold van Calker and Arnold Klassen) in the hospital (after a crash on that area of the track). I have to be concerned about my guys. … I have to look after my boys and can’t close my eyes to that. For me, it’s not about performing, it’s about surviving.” (Edwin Van Calker, pilot)


    Pilot Calker knows the extent of his abilities better than anyone else. Understanding his concerns about the track and accepting his lack of confidence in safely navigating same, I certainly wouldn’t want him piloting my sled.

  6. AY,

    using ‘Dutch’ in reference to a beer is quite odd because it would refer both to beers from Belgium and the Netherlands whereas the difference in beer quality couldn’t be greater between them.

    Belgian beer = Duvel, Jupiler, Stella (Inbev) – as in dominating the worldwide market….
    Netherlandisch beer = Heineken, Grolsch, Bavaria – as in the kind of beers we Belgians refer to as ‘tap water’, big difference, mkay.

    Remember that next time you plan to insult the only pride of my lil’ country damnit 😉

  7. I read an article yesterday and it stated that the folks did not see that this course was defectively designed. I guess this was brewing in the back. Dutch Beer, good stuff…

  8. Discretion is still the better part of valor. What rational person, who sees the death of another competitor and then learns a reason for the tragedy is a poorly designed track with an unpadded support structure, decides to beat the odds for the chance at a piece of gold worth $500.00 in a sport few know or care about. Bravo, Edwin van Calker, you’ve won thinking man’s “gold.” Risking your life should be limited to something important, otherwise it’s merely recklessness.

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