Georgian Luger Flies Off Track, Into Steel Pole and Dies Before Olympics Start

The statement also confirmed that there is an investigation underway into the circumstances of the accident and that training has since been suspended.

Even before Kumaritashvili's tragic accident there was criticism brewing of the high speeds the luge track allows athletes to reach. There was also question as to how the unusually warm temperatures may have impacted the safety of the luge tracks.

But Gonzalez said that despite what the critics say, the higher the temperature, the easier the track is on a luger beacuse the ice is "softer and easier to navigate." He added that he believes the real safety problem is the height of the wall on the side of the luge, which he says is not tall enough.

More than a dozen athletes have crashed during training runs here, including four Americans.

It was just a year ago, the International Luge Federation President said that the wooden protective devices near the track's curb are too short and that they needed to be lengthened to keep lugers from flying off the track.

"I agree one hundred percent," said Gonzalez about the President's comments, "My response is, why didn't they do it?"

An Australian athlete said late today, the track is too much. "To what extent are we just...crash test dummies?" asked luger Hannah Campbell-Pegg. "I mean, this is our lives."

Some of other lugers said that the breathtaking speed of the track surprised them when they first rode it.

"The track is super fast and I'll tell you, when I first got here it felt like a blur," said American luger Tony Benshoof. "It took me about 10 or 12 runs before it started slowing down in my mind."

Benshoof estimated that he and his fellow lugers will "hit 100 miles per hour during the race" which even the thrill-seeker admitted would be "very very fast."

"Pretty much from the top down you've got your hands full. There's a lot of really tricky corners," said Benshoof.

But American luger Erin Hamlin told ABC News Radio that speed is part of the sport.

"The reason we do this sport is to go fast," said Hamlin. "I think I can say that for everyone, and you've got to have the extreme factor in there sometimes. It keeps it interesting."

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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