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IOC receives report on death of Nodar Kumaritashvili

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A report by the International Luge Federation on the death of Georgian luge athlete Nodar Kumaritashvili at the Whistler Sliding Centre was received by the International Olympic Committee Monday.

The IOC will review the report and share the International Luge Federation's (FIL) findings with Kumaritashvili's family before releasing the report to the general public on April 19.

Kumaritashvili died after flying off the track and hitting a steel pole during a training run on Feb. 12, just hours before the 2010 Winter Olympics began.

The FIL and IOC came under fire in the wake of the accident when they concluded within 24 hours that it was the result of driver error. They claim that Kumaritashvili came out of corner 15 late and was then late in entering corner 16. That put him too high on the wall, which in turn sent him down into the opposite wall of the track at a steep angle. He bounced off that wall and out of the track, hitting a safety railing and a steel pillar.

The course had been cleared by both the FIL and International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation. Kumaritashvili himself was also cleared to compete on the course.

While crashes are common in the sliding sports the course was designed to keep the athletes and their sleds on the track. However, the course itself was much faster than the 135 km/h it was designed for, with athletes breaking 150 km/h. As a result luge athletes are pushing over five G's on the final corner.

Out of concern for safety and the mental well-being of the athletes after the accident the start for the Olympic men's luge was moved down to the women's start and the women were moved down to the junior start.

 

 

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