Luge goes on after slider's death
Training resumes as athletes pay tribute to Nodar Kumaritashvili after fatal crash.
Last Modified: 13 Feb 2010 19:48 GMT

Workers install safety padding as training resumes after the crash [AFP]

Luge competitors paid tribute to their fallen opponent Nodar Kumaritashvili as Winter Olympics organisers shortened the world's fastest track.

The Olympic men's luge competition at the Whistler Sliding Centre was running from the lower women's start as an extra precaution after the death of the 21-year-old Georgian in a harrowing crash on Friday.

Luge organisers raised the walls at the exit of curve 16 where the first-time Olympian died and changed the ice profile as preventative measures on Saturday, despite concluding there was no indication the accident was caused by a deficiency in the track.

"It is still fresh in our hearts today, of course," said Indian slider Kannan Palan Keshavan, the last man to complete a run on Friday before Kumaritashvili crashed at the final corner and was catapulted into an unpadded pillar.

"We are not able to compete with that same joy. But we have to go on. The Olympic Games are here and we have to show to the rest of the world what athletes are made of.

"He was a competitive slider ... and we try to honour him and to compete, keeping him with us."

"We are not able to compete with that same joy. But we have to go on. The Olympic Games are here and we have to show to the rest of the world what athletes are made of"

Kannan Palan Keshavan, Indian luge slider

Olympic sliders wore black bands on their helmets as they resumed training on Saturday with two full runs for the men, with Tony Benshoof of the United States completing the first run safely from the lower start.

The medals will be decided on Sunday.

"The jury has made a decision to lower the men's competition start to the current women's start," International Luge Federation (FIL) secretary general Svein Romstad said during an emotional and charged news conference.

"The primary concern we have right now is the emotional aspect of it."

Away from the luge, warm weather and a wet snow forced the delay of Alpine skiing men's downhill.

Scheduled for Saturday, the event was put off until Monday due to bad course conditions and poor weather, an International Ski Federation (FIS) spokeswoman said.

There were still five gold medals to be decided, however, in ski jumping, biathlon, speed skating, short track and freestyle skiing.

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