For the second straight Olympics, athletes from the country of Georgia are in mourning.
Only hours after their teammate Nodar Kumaritashvili was killed in a horrific crash on the daunting Whistler luge track, seven grim-faced Georgians marched in Friday night's opening ceremony of the Vancouver Games.
They honored his memory by wearing black armbands, by decorating their nation's flag with a black ribbon — and by staying at the games.
"I really appreciated their decision to stay in the games, to continue to compete, and also the fact that they showed up at the Olympic opening ceremony," a somber Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili said after meeting with the team, The Associated Press reports.
According to Reuters, the Vancouver Olympics luge competition will resume on Saturday, a day after a Georgian athlete died in a training run, Games organizers said on Friday.
"The FIL (International Luge Federation) will resume men's training Saturday morning with two full training runs prior to the competition taking place as scheduled at 17h00 (0100 GMT)," VANOC said in a statement.
Georgian luge competitor Nodar Kumaritashvili was killed in a crash at the Whistler Sliding Center when he lost control at 90mph and was launched over the rim of the track before slamming into an unpadded pillar.
The 21-year-old died in hospital after medics performed resuscitation at the scene and flew him down the mountain, informs.
"It's the first death in more than 20 years," Christoph Schweiger, secretary general of the Austrian Luge Federation, told Canwest News Service. "I can't remember one since I've been in the sport (1980). I think we all, in this luge circus, don't think all the time that an accident like that could happen."
Sliders have been pushing 155 km/h in training this week, and there were concerns being expressed that something terrible might happen.
"The high speed on this track (Whistler) is too high, in my opinion," Schweiger said. "When you crash at 80 (km/h), you can have problems, Calgary Herald reports.