International Olympic Committee's Jacques Rogge and NBC\'s Immelt are Using Nodar Kumaritashvili Death as a Ratings Bonanza

International Olympic Committee's Jacques Rogge and NBC\'s Immelt are Using Nodar Kumaritashvili Death as a Ratings Bonanza

It isn't a secret what is going on here and it is sickening.

Yesterday, the world witnessed the tragic death of a 21-year old Olympic luger.  As he came around the corner of his final luge practice run at speeds above 88 mph (144 kph) - speeds previously unheard of in this sport - he flew off of the track and collided with an unprotected steel pole.

Responsibility for this death clearly lies with the organizers.  To be clear, the New York Times had run an article the day before the incident signalling the dangers resulting from the International Olympic Committee's efforts to involve more speed and crashes in the Olympics.  The article indicated that the IOC had pursued this strategy in order to keep the Olympics relevant to today's action-seeking spectators and TV viewers.  The specific turn where Kumaritashvili died was cited as being "50-50".

Following the death, Jacques Rogge, the Committee's chairman, did his obligatory press conference where he even wiped tears away.  He however deflected criticism from the IOC or from the other organizers, including course developers who put unprotected steel columns at the dangerous curve in order to satisfy environmentalists and minimize the course's footprint.  In spite of the Olympics' inability to accept blame, it seemed likely last night that the event would be cancelled, postponed or moved to a slower speed (by lowering the starting gate).

Today comes news that the International Olympic Committee is not only unwilling to accept any responsibility, but that it places responsibility with the athlete who it describes as "inexperienced', even though he was ranked 44th in the world.

The IOC is too profit driven, the Olympics are increasingly becoming irrelevant and NBC paid too much for US TV rights in a different economy.  As a result, it is clear that the IOC's Jacques Rogge and GE's Jeff Immelt got together last night and realized that blaming the athlete and going forward with luge in US prime time is the most lucrative decision.  Ratings will soar as viewers tune in to see if they can be witness to the next fatality.

So long to corporate responsibility and hello to the human crash test dummy on prime time.



Herman Kline
Herman Kline: Herman is a recent graduate of Wesleyan College with a strong interest in finance and firm belief that General Electric is a scam on the public perpetuated by Jack Welch and Jeff Immelt that will ultimately fail to do hidden off-balance sheet liabilities. Herman's favorite place is on the side of a mountain or rock climbing wall.

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  • Jeffrey Immelt

    February 15, 2010

    Herman, Enough of your public attacks on me. GE no longer exercises day-to-day control over NBC Universal.

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