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

they crash.