Olympic luger's death 'accidental'

April 19, 2010 at 10:55 AM
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BERCHTESGADEN, Germany, April 19 (UPI) -- The death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili at the Winter Olympics was ruled an "unforeseeable" accident, the International Luge Federation said Monday.

Kumariteshvili, 21, died Feb. 12 during a training run on the Olympic Whistler Sliding Center track at Vancouver, British Columbia. He was killed during a training run on the track when he lost control and was thrown into a metal pole on the run's final turn.

"What happened to Nodar has been an unforeseeable fatal accident," said FIL Secretary-General Svein Romstad. "After an in-depth analysis we concluded that there was no single reason but a complex series of interrelated events, which led to this tragedy."

FIL officials studied the construction and inspection of the Whistlers track and video and other reports of Kumariteshvili's wreck. Their 20-page report, released Monday, said Kumaritashvili made tactical errors that contributed to the accident.

"This bowing of the sled has not been seen before and was therefore not predictable by technical and safety experts," the report said. "No athlete would have control in dealing with this type of 'catapult' effect."

FIL said the Whistler track was faster than expected, with speeds of 81.6 mph predicted but speeds of 92.4 mph reached by sleds. As a result the track at the 2014 Games in Sochi, Russia, won't be approved if speed exceeds 81 mph.

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