(Edited from AP, Tbilisi) The father of the Georgian luger killed during training before the Vancouver Olympics said Monday that his son told him before the run that the track was too dangerous.

 

Nodar Kumaritashvili’s father told The Associated Press 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.

(Edited from AP, Tbilisi) The father of the Georgian luger killed during training before the Vancouver Olympics said Monday that his son told him before the run that the track was too dangerous.

 

Nodar Kumaritashvili’s father told The Associated Press 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 himself, in a telephone interview. He said earlier that he wouldn’t bear seeing the video of his son’s final moments.

 

Nodar Kumaritashvili died during Friday practice when he lost control of his sled and slammed into a trackside steel pole at nearly 145 kilometers (90 mph).

 

Several Georgian athletes and team officials, as well as international and Vancouver organizers, attended a brief service Monday for Kumaritashvili, 21, at a Vancouver funeral home.

 

The athlete’s death cast a shadow over the Winter Games in Vancouver and left this poor nation of 4.6 million in grief. Many Georgians blamed Olympic officials for the tragedy.

 

I heard that many had said beforehand that the track was very dangerous,” said Makvala Schwartz, a 19-year old Tbilisi student. “That raises many questions to the organizers. Just imagine that: our boy has managed through such tests to qualify for the Olympics and died before he could take part!”

 

In a joint statement, the luge federation and Vancouver Olympic officials blamed slider error, saying Kumaritashvili was late coming out of the next-to-last turn and failed to compensate. However, Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili said an athlete’s mistake shouldn’t result in his death.

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