February 14 - A driving error cost Nodar Kumaritashvili his life, rather than the fact that the luge track was dangerous, the British Olympic Association's performance director Sir Clive Woodward claimed today.
Sir Clive made his claim after speaking to AJ Rosen, Britain's representative in the event, about whether the track at the Whistler Sliding Center was responsible for the death of the Georgian, who died after losing control of his sled and flying into a steel pole near the finish line.
Sir Clive told the BBC: "Now [the sliders] they've all seen it and the shock has gone away, I think it's fair to say they all as one say this was an error by a young luge athlete.
"There's over 5,000 runs having gone on this track and it's been classified safe and I think the athletes all think it's a safe track.
"That was it, it was put down to driver error.
"Clearly they have done a few things...they started lower down where the ladies start and also they just built up that final bank.
"But it was just one of those things that happen in sport and I think everyone has accepted that."
Like everyone else who has seen it, Sir Clive, the coach when England lifted the Rugby World Cup in 2003, was left shocked by the incident.
He said: "To watch it on the TV was horrendous.
"My heart goes out to him and his family and to all the Georgian team.
"I've just come back from the track where they've had the first two rounds and I went to where it happened.
"The TV doesn't do it justice, in terms of the speed they're going, and anyone who comes out of the track at that speed and you hit a concrete pillar - he would have died immediately.
"It sent a huge shock through the entire Games and it was just a shocking start to the whole Olympics Games really.
"I'm no expert. I spoke to AJ Rosen at length about this.
"They obviously shut the track immediately and all the luge athletes met in the Olympic Village restaurant. I went down there to see AJ and to make sure he was okay."
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