Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili
This one has nagged at me over the past couple of weeks. Is there anything the people of Vancouver, the beneficiaries of a great Olympic experience, can do in response to the accidental death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili? Someone asked us that by email, and I turn it over to our readers to consider. Is there a reasonable way those of us blessed to live here can reach out to those impacted by the loss? Just imagine if he flew off course when the TV cameras were on – would we have so quickly forgotten the incident? It's possible that Vancouver's Games would be tainted more than it has as a result.
Unfortunately, it's unlikely VANOC or any local authorities will express anything more than a few condolences because of concerns about liability. Georgian authorities, Nodar's teammates and his family & community can do little more than mourn. However, it's possible that a credible third party could create a fund named in Kumaritashvili's honour in support of athletics in Georgia.
I don't want to sound naive on this. I realize that Georgia is an embattled former Soviet province, undoubtedly beset by problems of corruption. It's possible any money raised will not go to the desired recipients. However, in a poor country like Georgia, a little generosity could go a long way in support of their Olympians.
For our part at CityCaucus.com, the best we can probably do is promote the idea. Can those of us who are so lucky to live in Vancouver find a meaningful way to reach out to Georgia's athletes during this difficult time?