|Georgia remain at Olympics despite Kumaritashvili death|
|February 12, 2010|
Vancouver - Georgia will remain at the 2010 Winter Games and participate in the opening ceremony of the Vancouver Olympics later on Friday despite the tragic death of its luger Nodar Kumaritashvili but will wear black stripes to honor their fallen teammate.
'The president of Georgia (Mikheil Saakashvili) is devastated as are all his teammates. So the Georgian athletes will be wearing black stripes and the flag will have the same,' Georgia Minister of Sport and Culture Nikolos Rurua told a news conference.
Rurua said the Georgian athletes will remain in Vancouver in being 'loyal to the spirit of the Olympic Games.' He added that Georgians will dedicate their performances to their fallen comrade.
The fate of the remaining seven Georgian athletes had been in question following the fatal crash at the Whistler Sliding Centre earlier Friday.
This is the second straight Olympics which featured a human tragedy for Georgia and its people.
The former Russian republic nearly pulled out of the 2008 Beijing Olympics as Russia went to war with Georgia for five days over the South Ossetia region at the start of the Games.
'The Georgian people are freedom-loving people as all nations are. We are a young democracy trying to stabilize themselves and their Western orientation. And people like Nodar and his teammates were part of that process,' said Rurua.
Skier Iason Abramashvili will be Georgia's flag bearer during the opening ceremony in Vancouver.
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