Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili died following a crash at the Whistler Sliding Centre on Friday, according to AFP.
German IOC official Thomas Bach told the news agency the 21-year-old died as a result of injuries suffered after a crash during a pre-Olympic training run at Whistler.
"It is a tragedy for his family and the team," said Bach, the IOC vice-president. "It casts a shadow over the opening ceremony."
Kumaritashvili was hurled off the track and knocked unconscious near the bottom of the track during his second of two runs on Friday.
He was clocked at 144.3 km/h before he hit one side of the wall, crashed into the other, and was thrown off his sled and over the wall. He appeared to hit a metal pole on the side of the track after he flew over the wall.
The accident occurred on the outrun of a turn named Thunderbird.
Track medical staff immediately rushed to the scene and administered CPR.
"I've never seen anything like that," said four-time Olympian Shiva Keshavan, of India. "I'm afraid it's bad."
Kumaritashvili is ranked No. 44 in the world.