Track to reopen Saturday for training

Updated: February 13, 2010, 11:08 AM ET
Associated Press

WHISTLER, British Columbia -- Olympic officials have decided to make some changes to the track at the Whistler Sliding Center following the death of a 21-year-old luger in a horrific training crash Friday morning.

Officials from the International Luge Federation and the Vancouver 2010 organizing committee say their investigation found "no indication that the accident was caused by deficiencies in the track." They said the track would reopen Saturday morning with changes "to avoid that such an extremely exceptional accident could occur again."

The wall will be raised at the exit of Curve 16, the last on the course and where Nodar Kumaritashvili of the republic of Georgia lost control, went airborne and slammed into a steel pole, and other unspecified changes will be made to the ice.

They called the accident "extremely exceptional," however, and said it was triggered by Kumaritashvili's failure to compensate for coming late out of the next-to-last curve, not by "deficiencies in the track."

After studying the crash on video, they said, it was determined that the luger was offline coming out of Curve 15 and "did not compensate properly to make correct entrance into Curve 16."

Men's lugers, who were scheduled to finish their training Friday morning, will get two extra practice runs Saturday. Women will train four hours later than scheduled. Men's competition will be held later in the day as planned.


Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press