Watch a few minutes of Winter Olympics and your knees or ankles might start hurting. Winter sports are notoriously tough on the joints, from skis and snowboards that can tweak legs to the tendon-shredding, cartilage-endangering feats of figure skaters.
But which sport is most likely to kill you?
Luckily, there aren’t many actual deaths on record to help answer that question. But it’s not like no one has ever died in pursuit of Olympic gold. In 1964, both a luger and a downhill skier perished during practice runs, and after a Swiss speed skier crashed into a snow machine and died while preparing for a demonstration event, the sport never came back to the Olympics.
The most notorious death in recent years took place in one of the Winter Games’ most hair-raising sports, luging. In 2010, Nodar Kumaritashvili, a Georgian athlete from a dynasty of successful lugers, died when his sled was thrown off the track. Twenty-one-year-old Kumaritashvili, who was traveling over 89 miles per hour at the time of the accident, was no match for the support beam he slammed into.
The International Luge Federation’s final report concluded that it was an accident and that Kumaritashvili, a relatively young athlete, was partly to blame. They later redesigned the track with higher walls and padded beams, and it’s now meant to limit luging speeds to just about 87 miles per hour.