Factbox: Reaction to death of luger Nodar Kumaritashvili

VANCOUVER Fri Feb 12, 2010 6:49pm EST

Nodar Kumaritashvili of Georgia competes during luge training ahead of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics in Whistler, British Columbia, February 10, 2010. REUTERS/Pawel Kopczynski-Files

Nodar Kumaritashvili of Georgia competes during luge training ahead of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics in Whistler, British Columbia, February 10, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Pawel Kopczynski-Files

VANCOUVER (Reuters) - Reaction from the Winter Olympics following the death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili after a training crash in Whistler on Friday.

Georgian Olympics delegation head Irakly Japaridze

"We are all in deep shock, we don't know what to do. We don't know whether to take part in (Friday's) opening ceremony or even the Olympic Games themselves.

"I don't know how he died but I can tell you one thing, the track was really very bad."

International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge

"The whole Olympic Family is struck by this tragedy which clearly casts a shadow over these Games."

Vancouver Games chief John Furlong

"We are deeply struck by this tragedy and extend our condolences to the family, friends and team mates of this athlete who came to Vancouver to follow his Olympic dream."

International Luge Federation President Josef Fendt

"This is a terrible accident. This is the very gravest thing that can happen in sport and our thoughts and those of the luge family are naturally with those touched by this event."

Hannah Teter, 2006 half-pipe Olympic gold medallist

"I was about to do an interview when I saw it. I had to fight back the tears. Every human life is worth so much. Somebody living their dream here attending the Olympics. He was only 21 years old. It's such a tragedy.

"It's so sad. It's just the beginning of the Olympics and somebody dies. It shows that these are extreme sports and people are putting their lives on the line, especially for the luge. They're flying down those things. Every time somebody goes down, their lives are at risk.

"It's going to be hard for the whole luge competition. It's going to weigh heavy on everyone's conscious."

France's Bruno Thomas, 10th in the bobsleigh men's four in the 2002 Games in Salt Lake City

"That is a piste that combines great technique and great speed. I think we're at the limit of what is acceptable.

"It could have happened to anyone, even the greatest, because it is extremely difficult to regain control."

French luge coach Yann Fricheteau

"I feel a huge sadness to see such an accident at the Olympic Games. It is awful.

"Crashes are common in our sport. But being thrown out of the track is a problem. Of course there was a mistake in the trajectory but errors should never throw you out of the track.

"It could have happened to anyone."

American Tanith Belbin, 2006 Ice Dance Olympic silver medallist

"When these bad accidents happen, it catches you so off guard because you'd never in a million years fathom something like that could happen.

"But it's a reality in the end and these unfortunate incidents reminds us of that. The great thing at the Olympics is that everyone comes together and that everyone can offer some support to his team and family."

(Compiled by Neil Maidment; Editing by Ed Osmond)