In the wake of widespread criticism over the fatal crash of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili, the International Luge Federation (FIL) has launched a donation campaign to help his family, which it says is in “urgent need” of financial support.
“Some years ago their house was completely destroyed by fire. Mainly with the help of their only son, the family had begun to rebuild the house which is still far from completion,” FIL said in a March 11 statement.
The organization has donated an initial €10,000 ($13,648), and is encouraging others to wire contributions to “International Luge Federation, donation account Kumaritashvili” at the Sparkasse bank in Berchtesgaden, Germany. For those interested in doing so, the details are:
- Account number: 20121422
- Bank code: 71050000
- IBAN: DE12 7105 0000 0020 1214 22
- Swift: BIC BYLADEM1BGL
The Monitor confirmed with the bank that donations cannot be sent by mail.
Kumaritashvili hailed from the Georgian town of Bakuriani, which has a strong winter sports tradition. Once the training ground for Soviet winter athletes, it produced nearly half of Georgia’s eight-member Olympic team in Vancouver, according to The New York Times.
So when Kumaritashvili crashed on the Whistler Sliding Track, it touched his team deeply.
His crash also heightened the already significant attention to the track’s unprecedented speeds and cranky turns. An initial investigation determined that the track was safe, allowing the Olympic competition to proceed – albeit from a lower start – but other investigations are reportedly still under way.
Athletes auction suits to raise money
Kumaritashvili’s crash resonated deeply in the tight-knit luge community, with both the US team and Australian slider Hannah Campbell-Begg auctioning signed Olympic suits on eBay to raise money for Kumaritashvili's family.
“By auctioning one of our Olympic race suits," he said, "we hope we can in some small way show the Kumaritashvili family that Nodar will remain in the hearts and minds of those in the luge community."