Olympic officials treated the death of Nodar Kumaritashvili, the Georgian luge athlete, less as a tragedy than as an inconvenience.
The sport’s international governing body released a callous statement late Friday night, about 10 hours after Kumaritashvili died, publicly blaming the 21-year-old for his own death. Athletes were attaining speeds at the Whistler Sliding Center far exceeding what the track was designed for, but the track was not the problem. It was a user error, the statement implied.
Kumaritashvili failed to compensate properly as he entered Curve 16 before he crashed at nearly 90 miles per hour, the federation’s statement said. It added, “There was no indication that the accident was caused by deficiencies in the track.”