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Tragedy Strikes Winter Olympics As Luger Dies In Crash

Feb. 12 2010, Published 5:20 a.m. ET

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Tragedy has struck the winter Olympics just hours before the opening ceremony is set to start in Vancouver.

Nodar Kumaritashvili, a Georgian luge competitor, was killed in a horrific crash during training on Friday.

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Kumaritashvili's sled veered off of the Olympic track at the Whistler Sliding Centre and slammed into a steel pole at 90mph.

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"Georgian slider Nodar Kumaritashvili has had a serious crash in the final run of official training for the men's singles on Friday," an official statement says. "He fell out of the track when he crashed. He was treated on site by medical staff who administered CPR, and was then taken away in an ambulance."

Concerns have been raised previously regarding the safety of the track, with several other athletes having been involved in crashes on the course, which is also used for skeleton and bobsleigh.

Kumaritashvili was ranked 44th in the world standings, he was 21-years-old.

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