Family members and friends laid to rest Georgia's Olympic luger, Nodar Kumaritashvili, in a burial that marked both a personal and national tragedy.
Flying in by helicopter, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili appeared in the crowded yard outside of the Kumaritashvili house and embraced the luger's pale-faced father, Davit Kumaritashvili, who clasped a framed photo of his son in his hands.
Kumaritashvili died on Feb. 12, 2010, after crashing into a steel beam during a practice run on a luge track at the Vancouver Winter Olympics.
Dressed in the uniform of the Georgian Olympic team, President Saakashvili, at times barely restraining his tears, was one of a few hundred people who gathered in Bakuriani, about three and a half hours outside of Tbilisi, to commemorate the 21-year-old athlete’s death. First Lady Sandra Roelofs, Parliamentary Speaker Davit Bakradze and Minister of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport Nikoloz Rurua also attended the funeral.
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Temo Bardzimashvili is a freelance photojournalist based in Tbilisi.