By Duncan Mackay
British Sports Internet Sports Writer of the Year
April 19 - Nodar Kumaritashvili (pictured) did commit "driving errors" before his fatal crash in a training run at the Vancouver Olympics but "no single reason" caused his death, a report published today by the International Luge Federation (FIL) has concluded.
The Georgian died on the morning of the Opening Ceremony on February 12 in the accident at the $110 million (£71 million) Whistler Sliding Center.
The 20-page report said: "Nodar did commit driving errors starting in curve 15-16, which as an accumulation ended in the impact that resulted in him leaving the track and subsequently hitting a post."
The full report reaffirms the preliminary findings of an investigation carried out by the FIL which blamed driving errors.
FIL secretary general Svein Romstad said in a statement: "What happened to Nodar has been an unforeseeable fatal accident.
"After an in-depth analysis we concluded that there was no single reason, but a complex series of interrelated events which led to this tragedy."
The report defended Kumaritashvili against accusations that he should not have been allowed to compete at the Olympics because he was not experienced enough.
It said: "The documentation honours the sporting career of Nodar Kumaritashvili and demonstrates the qualification process of the Georgian luger to participate.
"He earned the right to participate."
Kumaritashvili was ranked 44th out of the 65 lugers who qualified for the Olympics.
The report said: "The FIL believes its current qualification system is correct and stringent enough.
"It does not foresee making any recommendations to the IOC (International Olympic Committee) for changes."
The document, written by Romstad (pictured) and fellow American official Claire DelNegro, was requested by the IOC.
The report said that Kumaritashvili appeared to lose control coming out of curve 15.
It said: "This resulted in him being sent to the right hand side of the straightaway [going into curve 16] when he steered the sled out of that curve instead of being left of center on the straightaway which is the preferred positioning going into curve 16.
"Nodar appears to have hit the wall at an exceptional angle that caused the sled to compress rather than break or bounce off.
"This resulted in the sled serving as a catapult when it decompressed launching him and the sled into the air."
The report will now be sent to the British Columbia coroner's service.
The Canadian authority is expected to publish its examination of how Kumaritashvili died next month.
It could decide to hold a formal inquest hearing.
John Furlong, the chief executive of Vancouver 2010, welcomed the report.
He said: "The FIL has undertaken what is quite possibly the greatest honour to Nodar's memory: a thorough investigative report designed to understand precisely what happened on his final, fatal training run and a report that is the starting point to ensuring that, through the lessons learned, such a tragic incident may never happen again.
"Nodar lived his life for the love of his sport and the FIL has made it clear in this report that this accident's circumstances were indeed unique.
"We are grateful for their affirmation of the safety measures at the WSC that they took to protect all athletes and for their determination to learn from this tragedy.
"Our hearts are with Nodar's family and all of us at VANOC hope this brings some measure of comfort to them as they adjust to life without him.
"Sportsmen and sportswomen from around the world who compete and train at the Whistler Sliding Center will always remember him as an athlete who strove to compete at the very highest level and was a worthy Olympian."
The report also noted that because speeds at the Whistler track were faster than originally calculated by the design firm, the FIL asked the organisers for additional training days.
The "progressive" training saw competitors make three runs from the novice start position, two runs from the junior start and one run from the lower women's start before moving up the track to the men's official race start.
Keith Bennett, the President of Whistler 2010 Sport Legacies, who have taken over responsibility for the Sliding Center, said: "We commend the FIL on the thorough preparation evident in this report and look forward to the opportunity to host them and their member athletes in future training and competition.
"Nodar's death - but also his determination and drive - are part of the Whistler Sliding Center history and we will always honor his memory, working with all parties to ensure that, while sliding sports are speed-based, safety remains our number one priority in running both a high performance and recreational facility."
The debate will continue at the FIL Congress scheduled for June in Sochi - site of the 2014 Winter Games - which will soon build its own sliding track.
Sochi organisers have been told to keep well below the world-record 96 miles per hour speeds reached in Whistler.
The report concluded: "The FIL is determined to do what it can to avoid a tragedy like this from occurring again."
Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]
April 2010: Sochi promise to take no risks over luge track for 2014 Olympics
March 2010: Furlong slips away early from Closing Ceremony to attend memorial for dead luger
March 2010: Dead luger's family to receive insurance payout from Vancouver 2010 policy
February 2010: Nodar Kumaritashvili buried in Georgia
February 2010: Body of Kumaritashvili flown home from Vancouver to Georgia