Luger told father track ‘terrified’ him
The young Georgian luger who died in a horrific training accident
hours before the opening of the Vancouver Winter Olympics on Friday
told his father he was terrified of the track before doing the run
that killed him.
“He called me before the Olympics, three days ago, and he
said, ‘Dad, I’m scared of one of the turns,’ ” David Kumaritashvili
said in an interview on Sunday at his house in the small mountain
town of Bakuriani.
His son, 21-year-old Nodar Kumaritashvili, lost control of
his luge on the final turn of the course, the world’s fastest, and
slammed into a steel support at 90 miles per hour.
“I said put your legs down on the ice to slow down but he
said if he started the course he would finish it. … He was
brave,” Kumaritashvili’s father said, adding that his son had
dreamed of being an Olympian from childhood and could have competed
in two more Games.
The International Luge Federation has blamed the crash on the
luger and not on any “deficiencies in the track,” saying that
Kumaritashvili “did not compensate properly to make the correct
entrance” into the curve where he slid off the track at the
Whistler Sliding Centre.
Despite those assertions, Olympic officials took unusual
measures on Saturday to shorten the course by 190 yards to slow the
speeds, and they altered the run to keep lugers on the track should