Anniversary of Olympic luger Nodar Kumaritashvili's death to hang heavy over track

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea, Feb 11 (Reuters) - An Olympic luge tournament that has opened without major incident at the Pyeongchang Games will have a note of sorrow on Monday, the eighth anniversary of the death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili.

Kumaritashvili, from the tiny skiing hamlet of Bakuriani in the Caucasian nation, died at the age of 21 on Feb. 12 2010 in a sickening training crash at the Whistler track hours before the start of the opening ceremony of the Vancouver Games.

The death, the first at a major luge competition in 35 years, devastated Kumaritashvili's family while casting a pall over the Games and plunging the perilous sliding sport into a period of introspection.

Eight years on, the legacy of Kumaritashvili's death is manifest in the design of the Olympic Sliding Centre track in Pyeongchang, with higher sidewalls and padded pillars part of the stricter safety protocols in place since Vancouver.

Veteran lugers remember the gloom that hung over the 2010 tournament, which went ahead after a wall was raised and the ice profile of the track was changed.

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Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili
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Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili
WHISTLER, BC - FEBRUARY 10: Nodar Kumaritashvili of Georgia during the second Men's Single Luge training run at the Whistler Sliding Centre ahead of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics on February 10, 2010 in Whistler, Canada. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
BW_OpeningWhistler10_0212 A small vigil for Georgian Luger Nodar Kumaritashvili took place under large Olympic rings in the village prior to during opening ceremonies in Whistler B.C., Feb. 12, 2010. Photo by Bernard Weil/Toronto Star. (Photo by Bernard Weil/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
WHISTLER, BC - FEBRUARY 10: (FILE PHOTO) Nodar Kumaritashvili of Georgia comes around the 15th turn during the second Men's Single Luge training run at the Whistler Sliding Centre ahead of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics on February 10, 2010 in Whistler, Canada. Kumaritashvili was killed on Feburary 12, 2010 after crashing while making a practice run. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Emergency services at The Whistler Sliding Centre Whistler, Canada following the death of Georgian luge athlete Nodar Kumaritashvili. (Photo by Andrew Milligan/PA Images via Getty Images)
WHISTLER, BC - FEBRUARY 13: A worker re-shapes the ice along turn 16 of the luge course, where Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili was killed yesterday after crashing while making a practice run in training, during the Luge Men's Singles on day 2 of the 2010 Winter Olympics at Whistler Sliding Centre on February 13, 2010 in Whistler, Canada. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Pictured is a general view of the crash scene where Georgian athlete Nodar Kumaritashvili died after he came off the Luge track and hit the pillar(right) at The Whistler Sliding Centre, Vancouver. (Photo by Andrew Milligan/PA Images via Getty Images)
WHISTLER, BC - FEBRUARY 13: People pay respec to luger Nodar Kumaritashvili of Georgia at a memorial placed under the Olympic Rings in the Whistler Village on February 13, 2010 in Whistler, Canada. Kumaritashvil was killed on February 12, 2010 after crashing during a training run at the Whislter Sliding Center ahead of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Flowers and a photograph of Georgia's luger Nodar Kumaritashvili, who was killed in a horror crash in training, stand under the Olympic Rings at the Whistler Sliding Centre, at the Vancouver Winter Olympics on February 12, 2010. The 21-year-old crashed during his second training run at one of the fastest points near the bottom of the track at the Whistler Sliding Centre on the final 270-degree turn, his body slamming into the support beam at high speed. AFP PHOTO/Peter PARKS (Photo credit should read PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images)
The Olympic Rings and sign honoring fallen Georgian Luger Nodar Kumaritashvili, in the stadium during the opening ceremonies at the BC Place for the XXI Winter Olympic Games February 12, 2010 in Vancouver British Columbia, Canada. Kumaritashvili was killed on February 12 after crashing while making a practice run in training. AFP PHOTO/DIMITAR DILKOFF (Photo credit should read DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP/Getty Images)
The Georgian delegation, wearing black armbands and Scarves in honor of Luger Nodar Kumaritashvili, enter the stadium during the opening ceremonies at the BC Place for the XXI Winter Olympic Games February 12, 2010 in Vancouver British Columbia, Canada. Luger Nodar Kumaritashvili of Georgia was killed on February 12 after crashing while making a practice run in training. AFP PHOTO/Leon NEAL (Photo credit should read LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images)
David Kumaritashvili, the father of luge competitor Nodar Kumaritashvili holds his portrait during a funeral in Bakuriani, some 160 km (100 miles) west of Tbilisi on February 20, 2010. Inadequate safety measures were to blame for the death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili at the Winter Olympics, the head of the Georgian Olympic Committee said. AFP PHOTO / VLADIMIR VALISHVILI (Photo credit should read VLADIMIR VALISHVILI/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of the public look at the makeshift memorial to Georgian athlete Nodar Kumaritashvili beside the Olympic Rings in Whistler Village, Vancouver, Canada following the death of Georgian luge athlete. (Photo by Andrew Milligan/PA Images via Getty Images)
Dodo Kharazishvili (C) mother of late Georgian olympic luger Nodar Kumaritashvili, cries while looking at photos of her son at their home 180km from Tbilisi in Bakuriani on February 14, 2010. Nodar Kumaritashvili, 21, died after he lost control of his sled and was flung off the Olympic luge track before smashing into a metal pillar.His death overshadowed the opening of the Winter Games in Vancouver and plunged Georgia into mourning, no more so than in Kumaritashvili's home town, a well-known local ski resort and winter sports centre. AFP PHOTO / VANO SHLAMOV (Photo credit should read VANO SHLAMOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Candles lit at an impromptu memorial at the base of the Olympic rings in Whistler after 21-year-old Georgian luge competitor Nodar Kumaritashvili was killed in a horrific training crash at the Whistler Sliding Centre, near Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by sampics/Corbis via Getty Images)
Candles lit at an impromptu memorial at the base of the Olympic rings in Whistler after 21-year-old Georgian luge competitor Nodar Kumaritashvili was killed in a horrific training crash at the Whistler Sliding Centre, near Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by sampics/Corbis via Getty Images)
The mother of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili, Dodo Kumaritashvili, cries during his funeral in Bakuriani, some 160 kms (100 miles) west of Tbilisi, on February 20, 2010. Inadequate safety measures were to blame for the February 12 death of Kumaritashvili, 21, during training for the Winter Olympics, the head of the Georgian Olympic Committee said on February 18. AFP PHOTO / VLADIMIR VALISHVILI (Photo credit should read VLADIMIR VALISHVILI/AFP/Getty Images)
Women mourn during a funeral service for Olympic luger Nodar Kumaritashvili in front of his house in the city of Bakuriani, about 160 km (100 miles) west of Tbilisi, February 17, 2010. Kumaritashvili was killed in a horrific training crash during the final luge training session for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics at the Whistler Sliding Centre on February 12, 2010. REUTERS/David Mdzinarishvili (GEORGIA - Tags: SPORT LUGE OBITUARY OLYMPICS)
People attend a commemoration service for Olympic luger Nodar Kumaritashvili, at the house of the sportsman in the city of Bakuriani, some 160 km (100 miles) west of Tbilisi, February 17, 2010. Kumaritashvili was killed in a horrific training crash during the final luge training session for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics at the Whistler Sliding Centre on February 12, 2010. REUTERS/David Mdzinarishvili (GEORGIA - Tags: SPORT LUGE OBITUARY OLYMPICS)
People stand under a portrait of Olympic luger Nodar Kumaritashvili during the commemoration service at his house in the city of Bakuriani, some 160 km (100 miles) west of Tbilisi, February 17, 2010. Kumaritashvili was killed in a horrific training crash during the final luge training session for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics at the Whistler Sliding Centre on February 12, 2010. REUTERS/David Mdzinarishvili (GEORGIA - Tags: SPORT LUGE OBITUARY OLYMPICS)
Georgian guards of honour carry the coffin of Nodar Kumaritashvili at Tbilisi airport February 17, 2010. Kumaritashvili was killed in a horrific training crash during the final luge training session for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics at the Whistler Sliding Centre on February 12, 2010. REUTERS/Irakli Gedenidze (GEORGIA - Tags: SPORT LUGE OBITUARY OLYMPICS)
The Chief Executive Officer of Vancouver 2010 Organizing Committee John Furlong (L), the mother of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili, Dodo (C) and the President of European Olympic Committees Patrick Hickey attend a memorial service at Kumaritashvili's home in Bakuriani, some 160 km (99.4 miles) west of Tbilisi March 23, 2010. Kumaritashvili was killed in a horrific training crash during the final luge session for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics at the Whistler Sliding Centre on February 12, 2010. REUTERS/David Mdzinarishvili (GEORGIA - Tags: SPORT OLYMPICS DISASTER)
Prince Albert II of Monaco (R) visits the grave of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili in Bakuriani, some 160 km (99.4 miles) west of Tbilisi September 19, 2011. Kumaritashvili suffered a fatal crash during a training run for the 2010 Winter Olympics competition in Vancouver, Canada, on the day of the opening ceremony. REUTERS/David Mdzinarishvili (GEORGIA - Tags: POLITICS SPORT ROYALS)
The father of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili, David Kumaritashvili, attends a memorial service for his son in Bakuriani, some 160 km (99.4 miles) west of Tbilisi March 23, 2010. Kumaritashvili was killed in a horrific training crash during the final luge session for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics at the Whistler Sliding Centre on February 12, 2010. REUTERS/David Mdzinarishvili (GEORGIA - Tags: SPORT OLYMPICS DISASTER)
The mother of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili, Dodo Kumaritashvili, holds a photograph of her son as she mourns at home in Bakuriani, some 160 km (99.4 miles) west of Tbilisi March 23, 2010. Kumaritashvili was killed in a horrific training crash during the final luge session for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics at the Whistler Sliding Centre on February 12, 2010. REUTERS/David Mdzinarishvili (GEORGIA - Tags: SPORT OLYMPICS DISASTER)
A man passes by a poster with a portrait of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili in his hometown of Bakuriani, some 160 km (99.4 miles) west of Tbilisi March 23, 2010. Kumaritashvili was killed in a horrific training crash during the final luge session for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics at the Whistler Sliding Centre on February 12, 2010. REUTERS/David Mdzinarishvili (GEORGIA - Tags: SPORT OLYMPICS DISASTER SOCIETY)
The mother of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili, Dodo Kumaritashvili (L) mourns at home holding a photograph of her son in Bakuriani, some 160 km (99.4 miles) west of Tbilisi March 23, 2010. Kumaritashvili was killed in a horrific training crash during the final luge session for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics at the Whistler Sliding Centre on February 12, 2010. REUTERS/David Mdzinarishvili (GEORGIA - Tags: DISASTER SPORT OLYMPICS)
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"It was hard for everyone. It was obviously such a negative thing that overshadowed a lot of the Olympics," Canadian Tristan Walker, who competed in the men's doubles event with Justin Snith in Vancouver, told Reuters on Sunday.

Kumaritashvili came off his sled, flew off the track and slammed into an exposed steel pillar during his final training run at the Whistler Sliding Centre, renowned as one of the world's fastest tracks.

The International Luge Federation (FIL) deemed it an "unforeseeable fatal accident" and ruled out any fault with the track or the Georgian's sled.

A coroner's report said it was the result of a number of converging factors, including driver error and "exacting physical forces."

But FIL president Josef Fendt had expressed concerns about the speed of the track a year before the Games after a record time was set there.

Luge tracks are now designed to limit speeds to 140 kph for a sport in which sledders wear helmets but little other protection.

No deaths have been recorded in high-level competitions since Vancouver.

The FIL remains in contact with relatives of Kumaritashvili, whose grandfather is credited with introducing the sport to Georgia. The country is being represented by a sole athlete in the current tournament, Giorgi Sogoiani, in the men's singles.

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Scenes from the 2018 Winter Olympics
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Scenes from the 2018 Winter Olympics
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Ice Hockey ? Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics ? Women Preliminary Round Match - Switzerland v Korea - Kwandong Hockey Centre, Gangneung, South Korea ? February 10, 2018 - Alina Muller #25 of Switzerland scores a goal against So Jung Shin #31 of Korea in the first period during the Women's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round - Group B game on day one of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Kwandong Hockey Centre on February 10, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. REUTERS/Bruce Bennett/Pool
Ski Jumping ? Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics ? Men?s Normal Hill Individual Final ? Alpensia Ski Jumping Centre - Pyeongchang, South Korea ? February 10, 2018 - Richard Freitag of Germany competes. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach
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Short Track Speed Skating Events ? Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics ? Men?s 1500m Semifinal ? Gangneung Ice Arena - Gangneung, South Korea ? February 10, 2018 - Jens Maurits Alley of Belgium crashes. REUTERS/John Sibley TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Ski Jumping ? Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics ? Men?s Normal Hill Individual Final ? Alpensia Ski Jumping Centre - Pyeongchang, South Korea ? February 10, 2018 - Peter Prevc of Slovenia competes. REUTERS/Dominic Ebenbichler
GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 10: Hyojun Lim of Korea in action on his way to victory during the Men's 1500m Short Track Speed Skating final on day one of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Gangneung Ice Arena on February 10, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Switzerland's Simon Ammann reacts after competing in the men's normal hill individual ski jumping event during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games on February 10, 2018, in Pyeongchang. / AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFE (Photo credit should read FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images)
GANGNEUNG, Pyeongchang- FEBRUARY 10 - Charles Hamelin, left, consoles Samuel Girard after the finished sixth and fourth respectively in the 1500 metre final in short track speed skating in PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics at the Gangneung Ice Arena at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in Gangneung in Pyeongchang in South Korea. February 10, 2018. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
North Korea's cheerleaders cheer during the women's preliminary round ice hockey match between Switzerland and the Unified Korean team during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Kwandong Hockey Centre in Gangneung on February 10, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Jung Yeon-je (Photo credit should read JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)
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Luge ? Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics ? Men?s Singles competition ? Olympic Sliding Centre - Pyeongchang, South Korea ? February 10, 2018 - Emanuel Rieder of Italy in action. REUTERS/Edgar Su TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 10: Gregor Schlierenzauer of Austria makes a jump during the Ski Jumping - Men's Normal Hill Individual Final on day one of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Alpensia Ski Jumping Center on February 10, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 10: Rui Ukita, second from right, of Japan, celebrates with her teammates after scoring a goal against Sweden during the second period during the Women's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round - Group B game on day one of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Kwandong Hockey Centre on February 10, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. (Photo by Brian Snyder-Pool/Getty Images)
GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 10: Switzerland scores a goal during the Women's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round - Group B game on day one of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Kwandong Hockey Centre on February 10, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. (Photo by Brian Snyder-Pool/Getty Images)
GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 10: MACDONALD Jamie #59 of Canada crashes during the Ladies? 500m Short Track Speed Skating qualifying on day one of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Gangneung Ice Arena on February 10, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. (Photo by XIN LI/Getty Images)
GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 10: MACDONALD Jamie of Canada leads Yutong Han of China during the Ladies? 500m Short Track Speed Skating qualifying on day one of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Gangneung Ice Arena on February 10, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. (Photo by XIN LI/Getty Images)
The Korean Hockey team in the Women's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round - Group B, Game 2 during day one of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games in South Korea. (Photo by Mike Egerton/PA Images via Getty Images)
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PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 10: Noriaki Kasai of Japan competes during the Ski Jumping - Men's Normal Hill Individual Final on day one of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Alpensia Ski Jumping Center on February 10, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 10: Kijeong Lee of South Korea throws a rock in a 6-4 loss to Switzerland during the Curling Mixed Doubles Round Robin match on day one of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Gangneung Curling Centre on February 10, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - The South Korea team hold hands before winning the women's 3,000m relay short track speed skating heat event during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games, at the Gangneung Ice Arena in Gangneung on February 10, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Mladen ANTONOV (Photo credit should read MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)
GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 10: Phoebe Staenz #88 of Switzerland battles for the puck with Selin Kim #8 and Jiyeon Choi #10 of Korea in the second period during the Women's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round - Group B game on day one of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Kwandong Hockey Centre on February 10, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Japan's Fuyuko Tachizaki competes in the women's 7,5 km sprint biathlon event during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games on February 10, 2018, in Pyeongchang. / AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFE (Photo credit should read FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images)
GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 10: Phoebe Staenz #88 of Switzerland celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal in the second period against Korea during the Women's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round - Group B game on day one of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Kwandong Hockey Centre on February 10, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 10: A young Korean fan looks on during the Women's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round - Group B game between Switzerland and Korea on day one of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Kwandong Hockey Centre on February 10, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 10: Phoebe Staenz #88 of Switzerland and Jingyu Lee #29 of Korea battle for the puck in the first period during the Women's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round - Group B game on day one of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Kwandong Hockey Centre on February 10, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 10: (EDITORS NOTE: This image was created by multiple exposure technique in camera) Ayaka Kikuchi of Japan competes during the Women's Speed Skating 3000m on day one of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Gangneung Oval on February 10, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 10: Karl Geiger of Germany makes a trial jump during the Ski Jumping - Men's Normal Hill Individual Final on day one of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Alpensia Ski Jumping Center on February 10, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 10: Venla Lehtonen of Finland falls to the snow after crossing the line during the Women's Biathlon 7.5km Sprint on day one of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Alpensia Biathlon Centre on February 10, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 10: Emina Malagich of Olympic Athlete from Russia, Petra Jaszapati of Hungary and Charlotte Gilmartin of Great Britain crash during the Ladies� 500m Short Track Speed Skating qualifying on day one of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Gangneung Ice Arena on February 10, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 10: Dominik Fischnaller of Italy slides during the Men's Singles Luge on day one of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Olympic Sliding Centre on February 10, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Korea vs Switzerland in the Women's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round - Group B, Game 2 during day one of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games in South Korea. (Photo by Mike Egerton/PA Images via Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 10: Tatiana Akimova of Olympic Athlete from Russia competes during the Women's Biathlon 7.5km Sprint on day one of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Alpensia Biathlon Centre on February 10, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 10: Team Sweden reacts after defeating Japan 2-1 during the Women's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round - Group B game on day one of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Kwandong Hockey Centre on February 10, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Belarus' Darya Domracheva aims her rifle during the warm-up for the women's 7,5 km sprint biathlon event during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games on February 10, 2018, in Pyeongchang. / AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFE (Photo credit should read FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images)
GANGNEUNG, Pyeongchang- FEBRUARY 10 - As Yubin Lee, #129, of Korea falls coming out of a corner in the 3000 metre relay race, a quick thinking Minjeong Choi tags her. Despite her fall the Korean's recovered to win the race in Olympic record time in the short track speed skating in PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics at the Gangneung Ice Arena at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in Gangneung in Pyeongchang in South Korea. February 10, 2018. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
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The Pyeongchang track has had mostly rave reviews from the lugers but turn nine has caused problems for even the most experienced competitors.

Hearts were in mouths on Saturday when Ukraine's Andriy Mandziy came off his sled at high speed during the men's singles preliminaries but he kept hold of it as he slid down the ice before re-boarding to finish the run.

Lugers have welcomed having extra training runs to get accustomed to the track and feel the federation is doing what it can to prevent serious accidents.

There is, though, no way the sport can be made one hundred percent safe, they say, nor would they necessarily want it that way.

"Like I said, it's a dangerous sport. Honestly, you look at the personalities around the track, that's why we do it," said Canadian Walker, who is teaming up with Snith for a third Olympics.

"If you want something safe, play chess." (Editing by Clare Fallon)

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