88mph to 0mph in 0.0sec. No amount of padding would have helped, and even a net would have been hazardous. You go nearly 90mph on a sled with razorblades, there is not a way of "making it safe". Take away the danger, and the sliding sports – luge, bobsled and skeleton – are just sledding.
The events are not what needs to change. The problem is that in an Olympiad you have athletes who are essentially rookies on the same "field of play" as the absolute best in the world. While it is sad that he passed away, the inescapable truth is that he had no business being on what is by all accounts the fastest and most technical luge/skeleton track ever constructed.
When questions were raised abotu his experiance, The georgian prime minister said that he was from a place in Georgia with long snow sports tradition and was ranked 44th in the world luge this season. Well, great. We've got a long football tradiion here - does that make me ready to step on the field with the NFL? It's akin to taking a guy who has been streetracing for a year and entering him in the NHRA Nationals. I'm not saying he was a novice - I'm saying he wasn't at the top of his field.
There is a Ghanan skier entered in the downhill who has been skiing for 2yrs.......think about that. From Ghana. He used to be the receptionist at an indoor skiing facility in Scotland.
The olympics should be about the best of the best competing. Now, you have what are essentially privlidged kids who have the financial backing (corporate, government or personal) to train year round but can barely eek through the qualifications.
Don't dumb down the sport because you allowed someone in with little experiance or immature skill - keep them out in the first place.