Winter Olympics - No legal action yet over death

Reuters - Sat, 20 Feb 21:13:00 2010

Games organisers are unaware of any legal action yet taken by the family or team of a Georgian luger who died in a training crash at the start of the Vancouver Olympics.

People carry a coffin containing the body of Olympic luger Nodar Kumaritashvili, - 0

Nodar Kumaritashvili was killed at the Whistler Sliding Centre hours before the February 12-28 Winter Olympics' opening ceremony after crashing at high speed during a training run and slamming into a steel pillar.

The 21-year-old's death prompted organisers to make several adjustments to the track, including putting up a wall to cover the steel pillars behind the corner where he crashed, and lowering the start of the races.

"There is no legal (action) that I know of personally," Tim Gayda, the organisers' vice president in charge of sports, said.

"What happens with legal is something else."

Gayda said organisers had always maintained the track was fast yet safe.

"To make it 100 per cent safe you would need to put it in a tube," he said. "We took extraordinary measures but things do happen and unfortunately they happened to us."

Gayda rejected suggestions organisers were given legal advice and put up the protective wall following the crash to bolster their position in case of lawsuits.

"Following an investigation and as a precautionary measure (the International Luge Federation) asked us to put in a wall. That was the direction of the FIL," he said.

"We were not building the wall to appease lawyers."

An initial report by the FIL blamed the athlete for the accident, saying it was human error that led to Kumaritashvili's death.

Kumaritashvili's funeral took place in Bakuriani, Georgia on Saturday.

Follow the Winter Olympics 24/7 on British Eurosport (Sky 410 / Virgin 521) and Eurosport HD (Sky 412) British Eurosport channels are streamed online via the Eurosport Player.


Not already a Yahoo! user ? to get a free Yahoo! Account