Georgia team fights on at the wake of luger tragedy

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Georgia will shrug off the shadow of the death of 21-year-old Nodar Kumaritashvili on Friday's morning training to continue its competition at the Vancouver Olympics, Georgian sports minister Nikolos Rurua said at the wake of the tragedy.

"They will compete, and dedicate their performance to their fallen comrade," said Rurua, according to

"Georgian athletes will remain in British Columbia, and will compete and dedicate their performance to their fallen comrade," said Rurua.

Earlier of the day, there had been speculation that Georgia might pull out of the Vancouver Games following the tragic death of Kumaritashvili in Whistler.

"Our team, despite that fact, persevered," he said. "Our sportsmen and athletes decided to be loyal to the spirit of Olympic Games."

"Questions about Kumaritashvili's experience were unfair and misleading," added Rurua, stressing that Nodar was a "very promising" and "well-qualified" athlete, who came from the resort town of Borjomi -- a place in Georgia with a long snowsports tradition.

Rurua said that the team, including Kumaritashvili had arrived in B.C. a month earlier, and that Kumaritashvili had been granted access to the track but didn't know how many runs he had taken.

Georgia's athletes wore black bands at the opening ceremonies Friday evening.

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