IOC to appoint independent expert to review Sochi luge track
By Duncan Mackay
British Sports Internet Writer of the Year
May 31 - A neutral expert will review the safety of the luge track for the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said today.
Gilbert Felli, the IOC's Director of the Olympic Games, wants an independent review of the track in Sochi to verify that it is safe following the tragedy of Vancouver, where Georgia's Nodar Kumaritashvili was killed in a training crash at the Whistler Sliding Center.
He said: "We are now talking with each international federation to review the process first of all on design and [certification] of the different venues.
"Following what did happen in Vancouver, we are trying to understand with the international federations how they could verify all the calculations of the engineers and then we are in the process with them to see how this design can be reviewed, probably by a neutral expert."
Kumaritashvili died on the morning of the Opening Ceremony on February 12 in the accident at the $110 million (£71 million) Whistler Sliding Center.
The 21-year-old lost control of his sled on the final curve at nearly 90 miles per hour and was thrown clear of the ice before slamming into a trackside steel support pillar.
Luge leaders have already claimed that they are determined to restrict racers to 85mph at Sochi.
International Luge Federation President Josef Fendt said he wanted to avoid repeating the experience at Whistler, where the track proved faster than when it opened in 2008.
Fendt raised his concerns about plans for Sochi more than year ago, weeks after Germany's Felix Loch clocked almost 96 mph during a test event at Whistler.
Loch would eventually win Olympic gold.
The safety of the Sochi track is due to be the top item on the agenda of the FIL Congress in Sochi on June 18-19.
April 2010: "No single reason" for luger's death report concludes
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