Unsafe luge track to reopen with raised wall

On Friday, Georgian luge athlete Nodar Kumaritashvili crashed and was killed after taking a dangerous turn during a practice run at the Whistler track. The track was immediately closed, but now the International Luge Federation is saying training will resume this weekend after proper adjustments are made to the turn in question. The Vancouver Organizing Committee will reportedly raise the turn’s outside wall and alter its ice profile.

From The Vancouver Sun:

Vanoc released a statement saying both the BC Coroners Service and FIL officials had investigated the accident. The federation concluded Kumaritashvili failed to make a correction once he entered the final curve and slammed into the pillar.

“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,” the FIL said. ” 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.”

This, to me, sounds like the FIL is subtly blaming the athlete for his death. They aren’t being crude about it, but the federation certainly isn’t taking any responsibility.

Also, there must be some “deficiencies in the track” if the VANOC is modifying the track after this tragic accident. In retrospect, I’m sure we’re all wondering why proper precautions weren’t made beforehand. Given the years of preparation, how did this happen? Why wasn’t the wall higher in the first place? Why weren’t those steel poles padded? Did those poles have to be so close to the track?


Photo from fOTOGLIF

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