While the International Skiing Federation (FIS) and police in Bern, Switzerland continue to investigate the circumstances that led to the death of Canadian ski cross ace Nik Zoricic on March 10, the skier's family held a news conference in Toronto on Wednesday to clear the air. They don't believe the 29-year-old's death was the result of a freak accident, but may have been the result of poor safety systems.
Appearing with a lawyer at a news conference in Toronto, the family said it would not launch a lawsuit providing the authorities launch a full inquiry into the circumstances surrounding Zoricic's death.
It "was no freak accident," lawyer Timothy Danson told reporters.
"The problem with any lawsuit is they put all parties concerned on the defensive. Therefore, in return for a commitment to undertake an independent investigation into all circumstances leading to Nik's death, all legal options will be taken off the table. We will abide by the outcome."
Zoricic was killed in the second-to-last race of the season at the Grindelwald, Switzerland after he crashed into fencing on the side of the course.
At the time of the accident, Zoricic was in third place in a semi-final heat, with teammate Chris Del Bosco leading the group of four to the finish. In order to finish in the top two and advance to the finals, Zoricic attempted a daring pass over the final jump leading to the finish line. He went slightly off course coming down and hit a section of safety netting that appeared to be jutting out into the path of skiers. He sustained a head injury and was flown by helicopter to Bern where he was pronounced dead.
"Many have characterized Nik's death as a 'freak' accident," wrote the family's legal representative in a press release sent out to media outlets this week. "Such characterization distorts the truth and does a serious disservice to Nik."