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WHISTLER, British Columbia (AP) — Fast and frightening, yes. Responsible for the death of a luger, no.
Olympic officials decided late Friday night against any major changes in the track or any delays in competition and even doubled up on the schedule in the wake of the horrifying accident that claimed the life of a 21-year-old luger from the republic of Georgia.
They said they would raise the wall where the slider flew off the track and make an unspecified "change in the ice profile" — but only as a preventative measure "to avoid that such an extremely exceptional accident could occur again."
Within sight of the finish line, Nodar Kumaritashvili crashed coming out of the 16th turn and slammed into an unpadded steel pole while traveling nearly 90 mph. Despite frantic attempts by paramedics to save his life, he died at a trauma center.
Concerns about the lightning-fast course had been raised for months. There were worries that the $100 million-plus venue was too technically difficult, and a lack of significant practice time by everyone but the host nation's sliders would result in a rash of accidents.
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