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Georgian town in deep mourning for Olympic luger Nodar Kumaritashvili

2010-02-21 10:02 BJT

Special Report: 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games |

by Liu Lihang

BAKURIANI, Georgia, Feb. 20 (Xinhua) -- The tiny Georgian town of Bakuriani was in deep mourning Saturday for the funeral of Nodar Kumaritashvili, a luger who died in a high-speed training run hours before the opening of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.

People carry the coffin of Georgian luge competitor Nodar Kumaritashvili during a funeral in Bakuriani, some 160 km (100 miles) west of Tbilisi, Feb. 20, 2010. Kumaritashvili was killed in a horrific training crash during the final luge session for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics at the Whistler Sliding Centre on Feb. 12, 2010. (Xinhua/Liu Lihang)
People carry the coffin of Georgian luge competitor Nodar Kumaritashvili
during a funeral in Bakuriani, some 160 km (100 miles) west of Tbilisi, Feb.
20, 2010. Kumaritashvili was killed in a horrific training crash during the
final luge session for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics at the Whistler
Sliding Centre on Feb. 12, 2010.(Xinhua/Liu Lihang)

The 21-year-old lost control of his sled and slammed into a trackside steel pole at nearly 145 kph.

Hundreds of mourners gathered there, and many struggled to contain their own tears walking after the casket in deep grief from Nodar's home to the yard of the Holy Christmas Church, which is still under construction.

A small choir sang Georgian chants. It was clear that day everyone cried. It had rained slightly on Wednesday, when the coffin of Nodar was taken from Canada to his hometown.

It seldom rains in the picturesque mountain snowy ski resort of Bakuriani during the winter. Bakurianians believed the sky must have cried for the late young luger.

Residents in the tight-knit community of Bakuriani started to gather outside the small house of Nodar's parents days before the funeral to offer condolences to his father, mother and sister though did little to dispel the family's grief over a life lost too soon.

President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili attended the burial.