/ Olympics

Luge verdict was close call

Updated: Wednesday, 17 Feb 2010 09:52

Whistler boasts the fastest track in the world
Whistler boasts the fastest track in the world

Winter Olympic officials considered abandoning the Vancouver luge competition following the death of Georgian competitor Nodar Kumaritashvili in training.

Kumaritashvili, 21, was killed at the Whistler Sliding Center when he flew off the track and smashed into a pillar.

After investigations by the British Columbian coroners office and the International Luge Federation (FIL), the decision was made on Friday evening to go ahead with the competition after some changes to the track.

The men will now start from the position intended for the women and the doubles. The women and the doubles will start from a lower position yet to be decided.

The 'profile' of the ice has been changed on the bends to direct sliders back into the track while a wall has been built on corner 16, where Kumaritashvili left the track.

But at a press conference in Whistler, FIL secretary general Svein Romstad - who fought back tears at one stage - revealed they had considered abandoning the competition altogether.

‘All possibilities were discussed so, yes, that was one of the discussions,’ he said.

Romstad admitted the changes in starting positions were unlikely to make much difference to a track intended to be the fastest in the world.

‘I would say that the primary concern we have right now is the emotional aspect of it,’ he said.

‘[The changes mean] a difference of 10km per hour so this is, I think, an emotionally correct decision.’

Medal Table

Country Total
USA 45 27 30 102
China 38 28 23 89
Great Britain 29 17 19 65
Russia 25 25 32 82
South Korea 13 8 7 28
Ireland 1 1 3 5
Full Table

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