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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, February 15, 2010

Winter Olympics: Father says luger worried about track’s danger

Associated Press Writer

TBILISI, Georgia — The father of a Georgian luger killed during a training run at the Vancouver Olympics said Monday that his son worried the track was too dangerous.

Nodar Kumaritashvili’s father said that he had a phone conversation with his son before the deadly run, and that the young athlete was concerned about the safety of the track.
“He called me and said that the track was very dangerous,” said David Kumaritashvili, a former luger, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.
Nodar Kumaritashvili died during Friday practice when he lost control of his sled and slammed into a trackside steel pole at nearly 90 mph. After the crash, the poles were wrapped in padding and the course was altered to make it slower.
The Wall Street Journal first reported about the conversation between the Olympian and his father on its Web site on Sunday.
The International Olympic Committee and luge officials have taken criticism for blaming the accident on Kumaritashvili’s failure to make tactical corrections during his run, and for saying they were changing the course not to make it safer but to soothe the emotions of the athletes.
Concerns about the course, the world’s fastest, had been raised for months. There were worries that the $100 million-plus venue was too technically demanding, and that only Canada’s sliders would have enough time to adapt to it in practice.
Kumaritashvili’s body will leave Monday afternoon on a flight to Germany and will then be flown to Georgia for arrival early Wednesday, a senior Olympic official told The Associated Press. The official spoke anonymously because the plans were being kept private.
Kumaritashvili is to be buried in his hometown of Bukuriani, a small ski resort about 110 miles from Tbilisi, the capital of the former Soviet republic.