The International Luge Federation is deeply saddened by the death of the Georgian athlete, Nodar Kumaritashvili, member of our Luge Family, who was fatally injured during the final training session in the last corner of the track at the Whistler Sliding Centre on Friday morning.
The Coroners Service of British Columbia, responsible for the investigation of all sudden deaths, together with the RCMP, concluded their on-scene investigations on the track and transferred the decision to FIL when the track can be re-opened. The FIL, through its technical officials, further investigated into the cause of this tragic incident. Based on a physical inspection of the track and a thorough review of the tapes they have concluded the following:
It appears after a routine run, the athlete 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 technical officials of the FIL were able to retrace the path of the athlete and concluded there was no indication that the accident was caused by deficiencies in the track.
Based on these findings the race director, in consultation with the FIL, made the decision to reopen the track following a raising of the walls at the exit of curve 16 and a change in the ice profile. This was done as a preventative measure, in order to avoid that such an extremely exceptional accident could occur again.
The FIL will resume men´s training Saturday morning with two full training runs prior to the competition taking place as scheduled at 17h00.
FIL and VANOC will conduct a joint press conference on Saturday, 13 February, at 8h30am at the Whistler Media Center with Josef Fendt, FIL President, Svein Romstad, FIL Secretary General and Tim Gayda, VANOC Vice-President, Sport. Media in Vancouver will be able to follow the press conference and post questions at the Main Press Center (MPC).