It was with a heavy heart that the Pop Culture Institute first reported on the death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili, who died on this day in 2010 during a training run at the Whistler Sliding Centre, just hours before the Opening Ceremony of the 2010 Winter Olympics... He was 21.
Kumaritishvili's death was the fourth fatality as a result of injuries sustained during Winter Olympic competition since the Games began at Chamonix 1924; both British luger Kazimierz Kay-Skrzypeski and Australian skier Ross Milne died at Innsbruck 1964 while Swiss speed skier Nicolas Bochatay died at Albertville 1992.
Although it was initially thought that the track was at fault, investigators with the International Luge Federation (FIL) dissented with their president (Josef Fendt) in ruling the accident an accident. As a 'preventative measure', the walls at the exit of curve 16 - where Kumaritishvili perished - will be raised, and the ice profile will be adjusted.
The Georgian team made its entrance at the Opening Ceremonies, held just hours after Kumaritashvili's death at BC Place Stadium, to a standing ovation from the crowd; they and their fallen compatriot were further honoured by a minute of silence during which the Canadian and Olympic flags were lowered to half mast. Although Team Georgia participated in the parade of nations wearing black arm bands and matching scarves, his seven fellow team-mates did not remain for the ceremony.
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