Jacques Rogge, the president of the International Olympic Committee, called the death of a Georgian luger a tragedy overcasting the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver hours before the Games were to start.
Georgian Winter Olympic luger Nodar Kumaritashvili died on Friday at Whistler Sliding Center after a crash during a practice session.
"Our first thoughts are with the family, friends and colleagues of the athlete. The whole Olympic family is struck by this tragedy, which clearly casts a shadow over these Games," Rogge said in a statement.
Kumaritashvili, 21, lost control of his sled during his second training run on the world's fastest track and flipped over the side, crashing into a steel pole. He was taken to hospital but doctors were unable to save his life.
A Georgian delegation member said following the tragedy that Georgia could withdraw from the Games but Rogge said the decision has not been made yet.
Several other lugers crashed at the site on Friday during training, which has seen speeds in excess of 90 mph.
MOSCOW, February 13 (RIA Novosti)