As a luge lover reared in a tiny ski resort in Georgia, Nodar Kumaritashvili seemed destined to slide in the Olympics. Sadly, he never got his chance. Kumaritashvili died on Feb. 12, at age 21, a few hours before the Olympic opening ceremonies. During a training run, Kumaritashvili's sled struck an inside wall on the final turn of the luge track, and he was catapulted into an unpadded steel support column. The accident cast an instant pall over the Olympics and called into question the track's design. In the week leading up to the Games, many luge athletes openly wondered if the track was too dangerous; Kumaritashvili's father said his son had expressed concern about his own safety. After several adjustments were made--the starts were pushed farther down the track, and a protective wall was added to the sharp final turn--competition went on as planned. In tribute to Kumaritashvili, lugers wore black stripes on their helmets. Says Shiva Keshavan, a luge athlete from India: "Nodar will always be with us."