2010 Olympics luge track will reopen in Whistler following death of Georgian athlete

Vanoc and the International Luge Federation have announced that the Olympic luge track will reopen in Whistler  on Saturday (February 13) after the walls are raised at the exit of curve 16.

In addition,  Vanoc and the federation have announced "a change in the ice profile" at the Whistler Sliding Centre.

There will be two men's training runs earlier in the day, followed by competition beginning at 5 p.m.

Georgia athlete Nodar Kumaritashvili died today following an accident in the final corner during a training run.

The federation conducted an investigation and concluded that Kumaritashvili "came late out of curve 15 and did not compensate properly to make correct entrance into curve 16".

"This resulted in a late entrance into curve 16 and although the athlete worked to correct the problem he eventually lost control of the sled resulting in the tragic accident," the federation stated in  the joint  statement.  

The investigation concluded that  there was "no indication that the accident was caused by deficiencies in the track".




Feb 12, 2010 at 11:15pm

The investigation concluded that there was "no indication that the accident was caused by deficiencies in the track".

Simply astounding! If so, how come they are 1) rising the walls at the exit of curve 16 and 2) changing the profile of the ice? The athlete died because 1) the walls were too low, 2) the ice profile exacerbated the loss of control and projected the rider higher and 3) NO PADDING was installed on the metal columns along the track.

To swipe this under the rug is simply disgusting. I truly hope the Georgians and the family will not accept this convenient conclusions. Shame indeed!


Feb 13, 2010 at 12:04am

Padding? What the hell would have padding done @ the speed he was travelling. Regardless of the padding he wouldn't have stood a chance.. Also.. Research the Luge sport.. serious accidents occur all the time - it's a risk they take.

I feel for the Georgians and the individual's family as what happened is extremely unfortunate.

sickening but not unexpected

Feb 13, 2010 at 12:33am

... sweep, sweep, the worms cover their asses by sweeping the incident under the rug, someone dies and the lesson learned is that if you screw up in BC and someone dies, don't worry this is corrupt BC and you won't be accountable.

Pastor Jack

Feb 13, 2010 at 12:33am

Tragedy is always close by in this particular sport. It is too late to point fingers, the accident occurred and all attempts to avoid another such tragedy has been completed. Our hearts and prayers should be lifted up for the young man and his family, I'm sure his country will honor him and give proper condolences to his family. I'm proud of the fact that his team mates decided to remain in competition in his honor. My prayers are definitely for his family and others left behind. May God rest his soul,
Pastor Jack


Feb 13, 2010 at 12:57am

I grieve for this poor young man, his family, his fellow athletes, and all the people who witnessed his death via any means. What is the Canadian media doing to ensure that this tragedy will not be broadcast? What if another tragedy should occur? Are live broadcasts actually live, or is there a slight delay in the transmission?


Feb 13, 2010 at 12:57am

I know nothing about Luge, but I'm a skier and know something about physics. He was apparently going 80+ km/h just after going around a nearly 180 degree curve. The exposed columns he hit are on the outside, right about where you'd expect an out-of-control projectile would end up, and the ice wall keeping him from hitting said columns looks low. It's probably fine if you happen to be in control just then, but, um, why would a course designer not expect the occasional error at these speeds, especially by the last (and biggest) curve? The official response claims the accident was caused by errors the athlete made-- rather misses the point, don't you think? Sure you can't escape all the risks, but the aim of facility design ought to be that errors cause an athlete to lose, not die. Maybe hindsight, but sure looks to me like a mistake, and not on the part of the terribly unfortunate competitor.

8 14Rating: -6


Feb 13, 2010 at 5:29am

I just want to quote Skeeter:

"The official response claims the accident was caused by errors the athlete made-- rather misses the point, don't you think? Sure you can't escape all the risks, but the aim of facility design ought to be that errors cause an athlete to lose, not die."

Treefarmer in North Carolina.

Feb 13, 2010 at 5:56am

This is absolutely a result of poor track design and whoever had the final approval on the track design should be made accountable for their mistake. Yes, an athlete in a sport like this takes a great deal of risk and is accountable for mistakes but the same is true for the designers, builders and those approving of the facilities these athletes use. Those responsible for the design flaws should step up and admit their mistake and the Olympic committee responsible for approving the track should take responsibility for the death of the athlete. And yes, the event should continue after improvements are made to allow the men and women who have worked for so long and hard to realize their dream.


Feb 13, 2010 at 7:45am

It is too bad that people have to die to make other people rich !

glen p robbins

Feb 13, 2010 at 8:00am

This incident is a sad metaphor pointing to lax to pitiful 'workplace' protection in the province of British Columbia. I have witnessed it first hand during some of my own company 'investigations'. There is a greater chance of the north section of Burnaby B.C blowing into the North Shore through poor worker training and other workplace safety incompetence than any billion dollar threat from others abroad. The family of the Georgian luge athlete needs a very good New York lawyer. Very clearly, there have been complaints about the track -- the film of the incident also very clearly depicts an area of the track which could have been anticipated as a potential problem that had no safety apparatus in place.

In my opinion, as an early jurist-- this death was avoidable. The track should not be used again until all reports are completed and made (very) public, and proper safety precautions are put in place to ensure no more nightmares like this for another family.

Sometimes -- things like this happen for a reason -- and it isn't to titillate some fans desire for more danger and speed.