Canada’s CTV Olympic broadcast began streaming the competitor’s practice races live online before the games even started, but there was no way they could have known they would end up capturing the death of an athlete while doing so.
Friday afternoon online viewers of CTV’s dedicated Olympics Web site witnessed the death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili in real time after a high-speed crash at the end of his final pre-Olympic training run at the Whistler Sliding Center.
CTV says they put much consideration into whether or not they should post the footage on their website and ultimately chose to do so with a viewer warning attached.
As YouTube and other online video sites were posting the footage almost instantly, the Canadian broadcasters, who had exclusive rights to air and stream the Olympics live, felt they had no choice.
The network also posted a second video that featured sport commentators discussing the incident and the possible fall out from the tragedy. Their TV coverage did not show the crash and instead showed the athlete being placed into an ambulance.
During the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics, the audience observed a moment of silence for Kumaritashvili and several athletes wore black bands in his honor.
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