Luger’s body to be flown home

The body of Olympic luger Nodar Kunaritashvili, who was killed in a horrific accident on the weekend, will be flown back to Georgia.

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“The body will be repatriated this afternoon from Vancouver airport to (the Georgian capital) Tbilisi,” said John Furlong, the chief executive of organising committee VANOC.

This week, a “simple and intimate” memorial service was attended by around 50 people.

Kumaritashvili’s coffin was then carried by eight bearers, including Furlong, towards the hearse which was to take the Georgian to the airport.

Canadian police outriders escorted the hearse as a mark of respect.

Kumaritashvili died on Friday when he lost control of his sled, flew off the course and collided into a metal pillar at trackside during a training run.

Furlong later told reporters that arrangements had been speeded up due to a “significant desire in this young man’s home town to get him home to Georgia”.

“This is a devastated delegation. As you can imagine the uncle of the young man is heartbroken. There are three athletes on this team from the same class in the same school in Georgia,” he added.

Kumaritashvili’s uncle, Felix, was also his coach and was with him in Vancouver.

Furlong said the service involved a few moments of silence and there was an open casket.

“It was extremely difficult, moving and heartbreaking to be there to see it but anyway we tried the best we could to give them the appropriate environment in which to bring closure to what’s happened here,” Furlong said.


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