Nightly News   |  February 15, 2010

Luger's family had safety concerns

In the tiny mountain village of Bakuriani, Georgia, Nodar Kumaritashvili's family mourns the son for whom they had high hopes — and growing fears — heading into the Olympics. NBC's Stephanie Gosk reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> news, huntsville, alabama.

>>> here in vancouver, amid all the olympic competition, today was also a day of mourning. friends and family said good-bye to the 21-year-old luger who died here on friday. his body will be transported back to his hometown.

>> reporter: a mother cries for her son in this tiny village. my strong son, she wails, i would rather die than you. and a sister sobs. david kumaritashvili says his family hasn't been able to eat since hearing the news. three days before nodar's death, he called home. he said, i'm scared. i said, son, go slowly.

>> reporter: nodar's father raced luge as well. five racers from the kumaritashvili made up the german team in the '70s. nodar's mission was to carry on the family tradition .

>> i told him to go slowly, he said how can you a professional athlete tell me to slow down when i'm at the olympic games . i won't.

>> reporter: that stubborn competitive spirit began here. like these kids, nodar's appreciation for winter sports started at an early age, but to train for the luge he needed to fly to western europe . many people here believe the training and competitions on the world cup circuit should have been all the young athlete needed. to make sure the next generation of lugers get the best training at home, the government has announced they will build a new talk to nodar and his olympic dream .

>> along with the sadness there