staff and news service reports
updated 2/18/2010 4:58:31 PM ET 2010-02-18T21:58:31

The International Luge Federation plans a complete review of its sliding events at the Olympics, which were marred by the death of one of its athletes.

In a statement released Thursday, the FIL says now that the luge events at the Whistler Sliding Center are finished, it will gather information and "determine how best to move forward." The FIL says it plans to share its conclusions with the public by the end of March.

Georgian athlete Nodar Kumarishtavili was killed during a practice run when he lost his control of his sled in the final curve, was thrown from the track and slammed into a steel pole.

Olympics and luge federation officials had previously said the accident was due to the luger coming out of a turn late.

After the death, officials moved the starts for competition, raised a wall at the turn and built a wooden wall to cover the steel girders.

Earlier Thursday, Kumaritashvili's coach and uncle blamed the death on organizers, and a new report surfaced that another Olympic athlete had warned officials that the track was dangerous.

The head of the Georgian Olympic Commitee, meanwhile, pinned blame on the track, the Wall Street Journal reported.

"I exclude the possibility that Nodar was not experienced enough," Georgian committee chief Giorgi Natsvlishlili said in the Journal, which cited TV reports. "From my point of view the track was at fault."

Venezuela luger Werner Hoeger had warned Canadian officials and international luge officials in e-mails and letters about safety hazards on the Whistler luge track months before the games, The New York Times reported.

Hoeger, a competitor in the Turin and Salt Lake Games, told the Times he lost consciousness and sustained a concussion in a training run on Nov. 13. His sled, he said, caromed off an opening in the wall near the women's start ramp.

His injury most likely prevented him from attempting to qualify for the Olympics, he told the Times.

The coach and uncle of Nodar, Felix Kumaritashvili, said Olympic organizers had failed to take sufficient safety precautions.

Kumaritashvili said Thursday that the track lacked adequate protection shields and had other faults that contributed to the luger's death.

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