Sunday, February 6, 2011

Reality check: Coroner doesn't play blame game

Vancouver 2010 will forever be known for the death of Nodar Kumaritashvili, the 21-year-old Georgian luger who flew off the Whistler Sliding Centre track near the end of his final training run on the opening day of the Games.

The track was faster than it should have been, but it was marketed as the world's most extreme. Until the Feb. 12, 2010 tragedy.

VANOC CEO John Furlong revealed in his memoir, Patriot Hearts, that Kumaritashvili's family was to receive $150,000 from an insurance policy. Before the payment was made, Furlong traveled to the funeral in Georgia and brought with him the euro equivalent of $25,000 in cash. That was the proceeds from a VANOC podium auction.

Near the end of the book, however, Furlong makes a key error in reference to the British Columbia Coroners Service investigation. Coroner Tom Pawlowski, not Chief Coroner Diane Rothon, ruled the death accidental. Read the report here.

What does Furlong say on page 325?

"The chief coroner of B.C. has handed down his report and found no blame…"

The B.C. Coroners Service website says:

The Coroners Service is a fact-finding, not a fault-finding agency that provides an independent service to the family, community, government agencies and other organizations. The Coroners Act and Regulation governs the coroner's scope of activity.

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