Somber scene near luge track

February, 12, 2010

WHISTLER, British Columbia -- Bands are playing, skiers are trekking up and back from the slopes, and bars are filled at Whistler Village. Meanwhile, it is a more somber scene a quick gondola ride and short walk up the hill at the Olympic sliding track following the death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili during a morning training run.

The final training run was canceled and no athletes or coaches were available at the track. Instead, Canadian police have closed off access to the track for an investigation. A handful of reporters and photographers gathered at the police barrier attempting without success to get a view toward the final turn where Kumaritashvili slid out of control and struck his head on a support beam at about 90 miles an hour.

Officials at the sliding media center by the track said they don't know when there will be any update. The center was supposed to close early this afternoon because of the opening ceremonies, but is being kept open in case there is any announcement.

At the bottom of a big Olympics rings display in Whistler Village, someone put a small vase of flowers with a note that read: "In memory of Nodar Kumaritashvili, may he rest in peace."

Jim Caple | email

ESPN Senior Writer
Author of "The Devil Wears Pinstripes" and winner of a Sports Emmy. Reported from 17 World Series, 9 Olympics, 6 continents.



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