5 Oct 2010

Olympic officials warned about luge track says Canadian coroner

9:02 pm on 5 October 2010

The president of the International Luge Federation expressed concern to Canadian officials one year before the Vancouver Games regarding speeds hazards on the Olympic luge track which led to the death of a Georgian luger.

Nodar Kumaritashvili died just hours before the February opening of the Winter Games in Vancouver when he crashed off the luge track at Whistler and hit a steel pillar.

Now, according to the official Canadian coroner's report which was released today the FIL also had concerns about mistakes made by the track designer in determining top speeds on the record-setting circuit.

Some athletes had also filed warnings about the safety hazards at the track.

Kumaritashvili reached a top speed of over 144 km/h on his fatal run which was faster than all his previous runs.

The coroner says the FIL sent a letter to Games organisers and the track designer stating the calculations of the top speeds were incorrect.

Vancouver Games organisers found in their own enquiry that the high-speed track wasn't at fault and blamed driver error.

The Canadian coroner officially ruled the death as accidental saying it wasn't his mandate to apportion blame.