VANCOUVER - Almost a year before the death of a Georgian luger
on the opening day of the 2010 Olympics, internal emails reveal there
were concerns about the possibility of a serious accident at the
Whistler, B.C. sliding centre.
The March 2009 emails between
Vancouver Olympic Committee CEO John Furlong and other senior members
of the VANOC team discussed possible problems on the track.
were released Monday by Vancouver Olympic Committee spokeswoman Renee
Smith Valade and are in response to a letter from the International Luge Federation letter to the track's German designer.
The letter raises concerns about blistering practice times on the track but because it was written to ensure the luge
track at the 2014 Olympic venue in Sochi, Russia, is not designed the
same way, Vancouver officials noted the contents but ruled out any
But when Furlong is included in the loop, he suggests VANOC's legal department review the details, saying the luge
federation has offered what he calls a “cryptic” alert that the track
is too fast and if an athlete were “badly injured or worse” the case
could be made that VANOC was “warned and did nothing.”
months later, 21-year-old Nodar Kumaritashvili
(Koo-mar-EE'-tash-VEE'-lee) died instantly when he flew off the track
at high speed.