Belfast Telegraph

Rogge’s plea for safe sliding track at next Winter Olympics

IOC president Jacques Rogge has urged Russian organisers to ensure the safety of the sliding track at the 2014 Winter Olympics so there is no repeat of the crash that killed Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili at the Vancouver Games.

Rogge said he has written to organisers of the 2014 Sochi Games asking that the track for luge, bobsled and skeleton be built “absolutely for safety first.”

“The IOC has been very clear in saying to the Russians: Please deliver us a track that will not be hazardous,” said Rogge.

The building of the Sochi track is due to start this year and organisers have already said it is designed to be 6-9 mph slower than the track in Whistler where Kumaritashvili was killed in training hours before the opening ceremony.

“We never asked for more speed in the IOC, never,” Rogge told reporters. “There's never been any requests to say you have to go faster. This is something that clearly emanated from the international federation which approved the design. That's not the philosophy of the IOC.”

Rogge said the IOC accepted a “moral responsibility” for the tragedy but not any legal responsibility.

“The IOC is not legally bound to the track,” he said. “We are morally responsible. Our responsibility is to make sure that no unnecessary risks are taken. There will always be risk in sport but it has to be reasonable and the athletes take a lot of risk themselves.”

Meanwhile, Germany's Viktoria Rebensburg was stunned by her surprise gold in the women's giant slalom gold medal at a foggy Whistler Creekside.

Rebensburg, 20, was lying sixth after the first run but grabbed the lead after completing her second run in one minute, 11.64 seconds for a combined time of 2mins, 27.11secs.

“Unbelievable,” said a shocked Rebensburg. “I don't know what to say. I think I have to celebrate.”

Slovenia's Tina Maze bagged another silver medal to add to her earlier one in the Super-G. She was 0.12 seconds behind after a second run of 1:11.76.

Elisabeth Goergl of Austria, leading after the first run, had to settle for another bronze to match the one she won in the downhill after a second run of 1:12.13 gave her a combined time of 2:27.25.

Defending champion Julia Mancuso skied a quick second run — 1:11.24 — but had too much ground to make up after her first run and was back in eighth place.

Ireland’s Kirsty McGarry finished 50th overall after a good second run, clocking 1:20.92.

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