Report: Kumaritashvili death could not have been predicted 

Driver error set tragedy in motion but FIL says sled acted as a catapult


A series of interrelated events led to the fatal crash of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili, according to the final report by the International Luge Federation (FIL), released on Monday.

But questions remain as to how the sport can be made safer in the future.

FIL secretary general Svein Romstad suggested "there was no single reason" for the accident, "but a complex series of interrelated events which led to this tragedy" - many of which the FIL claims could not have been foreseen.

The fatal accident took place during training on Feb. 12, hours before the opening ceremonies for the 2010 Winter Olympics. Networks broadcast the accident, which showed the 21-year-old Olympian bouncing out of the Whistler Sliding Centre track into a metal pillar.

While the track was proclaimed as the fastest in the world, with athletes breaking the 150 km/h mark, the FIL stood by its original assessment that the course was safe despite the high speeds.

Since the track opened in 2007 there have been 32,646 runs at the Whistler Sliding Centre, including 19,543 luge runs. Only 203 crashes have been reported for all three disciplines. The FIL has maintained that the number of crashes on the course is not unusual, especially for a new track. However, FIL did take steps to address the speed issue by requesting additional training days before the 2010 Games, including three runs from the novice start, two runs from the junior start and one run from the ladies start before moving up the track to the men's start.

While the question of experience has been debated, the FIL confirmed that Kumaritashvili met all the international requirements to compete in the 2010 Games,

While the Georgian team did not compete in any of the test events held at the track, for financial reasons, they did take part in the second of two training weeks held at the facility in November 2009. In that session Kumaritashvili posted 20 runs on the track, nine of them from the men's start. He also completed six training runs - four from the men's start - before the 2010 Games.

As for what went wrong, the FIL report confirms that Kumaritashvili likely made a few errors in the final corners:

"...the run appears to have been routine until the exit of curve 15. At that time Nodar appears to have hung on to the curve too long. This resulted in him being sent to the right hand side of the straightaway (going into curve 16)... When Nodar did enter curve 16 late as a result he appears to have made the decision to try to hold the sled down rather than letting it go high up in the curve which is the normal path when coming too late into curve 16. This resulted in him having a low trajectory through the beginning of the curve."

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