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On This Day: Nodar Kumaritashvili tragically dies at Winter Olympics

The track was reputed to be the fastest in the world.

The International Olympic Committee confirmed the death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili in a training accident at the Winter Games in Vancouver, on this day in 2010.

Just hours before the opening ceremony, a pall was cast over the 2010 Olympic Games in Canada when Kumaritashvili died after an accident in training.

The 21-year-old crashed near the end of the track, at the time reputed to be the fastest in the world, at the Whistler Sliding Center and went over the wall before appearing to collide with a steel pole close to the finishing line.

A makeshift memorial to Georgian athlete Nodar Kumaritashvili
A post-mortem revealed Nodar Kumaritashvili had suffered extensive injuries to his head and torso (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Rescue officials performed chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation at the scene before the athlete was airlifted to hospital with life-threatening injuries.

However, the IOC later confirmed that he had died with a post-mortem revealing he had suffered extensive injuries to his head and torso.

It was not known how fast Kumaritashvili had been travelling at the time of the accident, although sliders had been clocked at in excess of 90mph on the same track.

Luge training was suspended immediately after the incident – Italian favourite Armin Zoggeler had earlier crashed after losing control of his sled – and team captains were summoned to a meeting.

A makeshift memorial to Georgian athlete Nodar Kumaritashvili beside the Olympic Rings
A makeshift memorial to Georgian athlete Nodar Kumaritashvili beside the Olympic Rings (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Competitors, who wore a strip of black tape on the left side of their helmets as a mark of respect, were allowed to return to a modified track the next day.

A high bank around the bend had been altered, while the men's start gate was moved down to the one usually used for women and the four rounds of the competition passed without further incident.

Germany's Felix Loch claimed gold ahead of compatriot David Moller with reigning champion Zoggeler third.

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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
JapanJapan114520
United StatesUnited States1010929
ChinaChina105823
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia78419
AustraliaAustralia61815
Great BritainGreat Britain56415
Today's Olympic highlights header

Wednesday's key events


ROWING
· Team GB have dominated the men's coxless fours in recent Olympics, winning on each of the last five occasions, but this year they face some stiff competition. They are one of four rowing medal contenders for Great Britain today (2.10am)

SWIMMING
· Katie Ledecky and Ariarne Titmus face off again in the women's 200m freestyle final, with the latter having already come out on top in the 400m event (2.41am)
· Team GB's Abbie Wood is among the medal contenders in the women's 200m individual medley final, while teammate Alicia Wilson will also take part. USA's Kate Douglass was the fastest qualifier, while world and Olympic record holder Katinka Hosszu is also involved (3.45am)
· Katie Ledecky could make it two golds in one morning as she goes into the 1500m freestyle final as heavy favourite, having broken the Olympic record in qualifying (3.54am)
· Team GB were by far the fastest qualifiers for the men's 4x200m freestyle relay final and will therefore be favourites for another gold in the pool (4.26am)

RUGBY SEVENS
· Team GB take on New Zealand in the first men's semi-final, having been beaten by reigning champions Fiji but then come from behind to overcome USA on day two (3am)
· The sevens gold medal match takes place at Tokyo Stadium, with the winner of Great Britain vs. New Zealand taking on either Argentina or Fiji (10am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· Joe Fraser and James Hall compete for Team GB in the men's all-around final (11.15am-2.10pm)

CYCLING
· Anna Shackley will take part in the women's road time trial (from 3.30am)
· Geraint Thomas and Tao Geoghegan Hart have medal ambitions for Great Britain in the men's road time trial, although both will need to recover from the crash they suffered on Saturday (6am)

DIVING
· Jack Laugher bids to retain his men's 3m synchro diving title alongside new partner Daniel Goodfellow (7am)

EQUESTRIAN
· Charlotte Dujardin will look to add to her already legendary status with a third successive Olympic individual dressage title (9.30am-1.25pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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