International Luge Federation calls Olympic death “unforeseeable” accident
In a report released today (April 19), the FIL details the circumstances surrounding the accident that claimed the life of 21-year-old Nodar Kumaritashvili.
On February 12, the opening day of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, Kumaritashvili was rounding curve 16 at the Whistler Sliding Centre when his sled went out of control and he was hurled from the track into a metal pole. He died from his injuries.
“After an in-depth analysis we concluded that there was no single reason, but a complex series of inter-related events which led to this tragedy,” FIL secretary general Svein Romstad said in a statement.
According to the 20-page FIL report, Kumaritashvili was having a routine run until he left curve 15 out of position. He then entered curve 16 lower than normal and experienced strong G-forces before likely losing control of his sled.
In response to the fatal accident, officials halted training, raised the height of walls and added padding to pillars along the track, and lowered the starting point of the men’s course. There were also investigations by the RCMP and B.C. Coroners Service.
FIL officials watched television footage, reviewed RCMP information, and physically inspected the track in order to produce the report. They determined Kumaritashvili’s sled met FIL standards and there were no track deficiencies.