Published January 08, 2015
By Karolos Grohmann
VANCOUVER (Reuters) - Games organizers are unaware of any legal action yet taken by the family or team of a Georgian luger, who died in a training crash at the start of the Vancouver Olympics, they said on Saturday.
Nodar Kumaritashvili was killed at the Whistler Sliding Center hours before the Feb 12-28 Winter Olympics' opening ceremony after crashing at high speed during a training run and slamming with a steel pillar.
The 21-year-old's death prompted organizers to make several adjustments to the track, including putting up a wall to cover the steel pillars behind the corner where he crashed, and lowering the start of the races.
"There is no legal (action) that I know of personally," Tim Gayda, the organizers' vice president in charge of sports, told reporters. "What happens with legal is something else."
Gayda said organizers (VANOC) had always maintained the track was fast yet safe.
"To make it 100 percent safe you would need to put it in a tube," he said. "We took extraordinary measures but things do happen and unfortunately they happened to us."
Gayda rejected suggestions organizers were given legal advice and put up the protective wall following the crash to bolster their position in case of lawsuits.
"Following an investigation and as a precautionary measure (the International Luge Federation) asked us to put in a wall. That was the direction of the FIL," he said.
"We were not building the wall to appease lawyers," Gayda said.
An initial report by the FIL blamed the athlete for the accident, saying it was human error that led to Kumaritashvili's death.
Kumaritashvili's funeral took place in Bakuriani, Georgia on Saturday.
(Editing by Miles Evans)