Report on luger's death expected Monday

By BOB MACKIN, QMI Agency

VANCOUVER - The International Luge Federation will publish a report Monday on the death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili.

Kumaritashvili, 21, died on the opening day of the 21st Winter Olympics on a training run in the Whistler Sliding Centre. He flew off his sled and slammed into a pole.

The report was ordered by the International Olympic Committee and delivered by the sport federation’s officials on April 12.

Officials have given few hints about the report, except to say there is no single cause but a multitude of factors. The $106 million Whistler track is considered the fastest in the world. VANOC was widely criticized in 2009 for allowing Canadian athletes more practice time than foreign athletes, some of whom crashed and complained about the facility.

“Nodar affected the games, it’s part of the story of Vancouver 2010 in many different ways,” said VANOC CEO John Furlong on Friday. “Aside from the fact it was something we had absolutely never contemplated, it set us back dramatically in so many ways. It also in many ways made us a stronger team. I can’t forget him.”

Furlong said he hoped the report would lead to greater safety for athletes in already dangerous winter sports.

IOC president Jacques Rogge said during the Vancouver Games that it has a moral, but not legal, duty to ensure athlete safety. It has already ordered organizers of Sochi 2014 to create a slower sliding track than Whistler’s.

Kumaritashvili’s family will receive an undisclosed insurance settlement from VANOC.

The Vancouver Board of Trade announced a $10,000 donation Friday to Kumaritashvili’s family.

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