YouTube's most popular sports videos of the week: Winter Olympic tragedy divides users

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The Independent Online

The most popular sports videos of week as viewed on YouTube at 12:30 GMT, Tuesday 23 February, were dominated by the accidental and unfortunate death of Nodar Kumaritashvili, an Olympic luge athlete who collided with part of the luge track structure at Whistler Sliding Centre in preparation for his timed runs.

Following a deluge of commentary videos that failed to offer news insights into the event, the voice behind TheRealWeeklyNews' YouTube channel broke his silence and chided fellow uploaders, asking "What is worse: the tragic death of an Olympic athlete, or the profiting off of that very death?".

The videos he referred to claimed to show footage of the accident, but in fact were in his opinion little more than thinly-veiled ruses to increase viewer counts and therefore advertisement-funded revenue for their creators. Certainly, none of the videos in this week's top 10 contain motion picture clips despite their assertions and misleading preview images.

TheRealWeeklyNews' frank assessment of the situation prompted the creator of the second most watched video "Why I reported the death" to amend both it and previous uploads, remove links to purported footage of the crash in the process.

Amongst the commercial news coverage, ABC, CBS, CNN and NBC were all criticised for airing clips of the fatality.

Elsewhere on YouTube, a Valentine's Day prank amused ice hockey fans and ignited debate when a marriage proposal went wrong, and a college basketball player pulled off a spectacular shot right at the end of a quater's play.

1) Marriage Proposal Fails at NY Rangers Valentines game - 2,743,217 total views
This clip became the most watched sports video of the week thanks to direct links from many online news sites. An ice hockey fan proposes via the Rangers' big-screen, but his girlfriend walks out of the stadium in disgust. The episode is now thought to have been a staged hoax.

2) Why I reported the death - 4,242,081 total views
A YouTube user responds to accusations that he reported on the death of Olympic luge athlete Nodar Kumaritashvili purely for entertainment purposes, saying that his mask and artificially high-pitched voice did not indicate mirth, re-iterating the accident's tragic nature. A subtitle cites TheRealWeeklyNews for his later change in tack.

3) Luge accident 2010 Nodar - 3,315,379 total views
A tribute to luge athlete Nodar Kumaritashvili, who died on February 12 2010 as a result of a Winter Olympics training run accident. The video comprises a single still photograph of Kumaritashvili in action accompanied by the Evanescence piano ballad My Immortal.

4) MSU Isaiah Canaan 3-pointer - 1,784,728 total views
A spectacular half-court shot from Isaiah Canaan of Murray State University who recovers a fumbled dribble and, from his knees, flicks the ball up over everyone's heads and straight into Southeast Missouri State's net right on the buzzer.

5) Raw video - Fatal luge crash death of Olympic star - 1,628,422 total views
Thoughts from a YouTube user about the luge track fatality, encouraging viewers to watch an earlier clip by the creator of "Why I reported the death", this week's 2nd most watched YouTube sports video. This clip contained no raw video.

6) Olympic Luger From Georgia Dies After Crash - 1,257,958 total views
A newsreel summarising the events surrounding Nodar Kumaritashvili's tragic death, including comments the day before from the USA's luge team regarding the Whistler Sliding Centre's high speed track.

7) Vancouver 2010: What led to tragic death of Georgian luger? - 731,095 total views
Russia Today speak with Chris Whiteman, luge expert and analyst for the Canadian CTV Television Network. Whiteman describes the events that led to Nodar's untimely death, the rarity of such an occurence, luge's standard safety procedures, Nodar's previous experience and the speed of the track at Whistler.

8) Sven Kramer interview - 740,716 total views
Sven Kramer, a Dutch speed skater, responds to an NBC affiliate's questions. After winning a gold medal and setting a new Olympic record time, he was asked to confirm who he was, where he was from, how he felt about placing first. "Are you stupid?" he replied "I'm not going to do that".

9) Tödlicher Rodel-Unfall in Vancouver (Olympische Winterspiele) - 721,237 total views
A German language clip featuring footage, photos, and interviews from the SID TV channel, with a commentary summarizing the International Olympic Committee reaction to Nodar Kumaritashvili's death, via the Sonnenburg Company.

10) Nodar Kumaritashvili Vancouver 2010 Olympic Athlete Luge Accident - 646,586 total views
A selection of still photographic images of Nodar Kumaritashvili during his preparation for the Winter Olympic luge and his last training run.