The 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 at his house in the small mountain town of Bakuriani on Sunday.
"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," Mr. 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 Mr. 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.