He had hoped to be celebrating Olympic success. Yet today, 21-year-old Nodar Kumaritashvili was being buried in his home town.
The Georgian luge competitor’s death in a practice crash, just hours before the opening ceremony, cast a shadow over the Games. And, while sporting exploits have since lifted the mood in Vancouver, the small winter restort of Bakuriani remains immersed in grief.
Prior to the funeral ceremony, Georgia’s President Mikheil Saakashvili joined the young athlete’s loved ones to pay his respects at the Kumaritashvili family home.
Unanswered questions and anger still surround the luger’s death in training at Vancouver’s lightning-quick Whistler Sliding Centre. While the accident was officially blamed on a misjudgement by Kumaritashvili, many of those close to him maintain the design of the course was to blame.