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Olympic Officials Mark Fourth Anniversary Of Luger's Death

Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili died in an accident shortly before the start of the Vancouver Olympics in 2010.
Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili died in an accident shortly before the start of the Vancouver Olympics in 2010.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Luge Federation (FIL) are honoring Nodar Kumaritashvili on the fourth anniversary of the Georgian luger's death.

IOC spokesman Mark Adams said flowers would be laid on February 12 at the luge center in Vancouver, Canada, where Kumaritashvili died in a crash on the same day in 2010, shortly before the opening of the Vancouver Olympics. He was 21.

Officials of the IOC and FIL held a moment of silence for Kumaritashvili on February 12 near the Sanki Sliding Center, where the luge, bobsled, and skeleton competitions are taking place at the Sochi Olympics.

However, no official ceremony marking his death is expected at Sochi.

Olympic officials say they are working with Kumaritashvili's family to establish a "lasting memorial" in Georgia.

Georgia Urges Olympic Guests To Stay Away From Abkhazia

Meanwhile, Georgia's government is calling on foreign visitors to the Winter Olympics to stay away from its Russia-backed breakaway territory of Abkhazia, just south of Sochi along the Black Sea coast.

Georgia's Foreign Ministry said in a statement on February 12 that attempts by Moscow to facilitate travel across its border with Abkhazia, only five kilometers south of Olympic venues, was "a provocation aimed at undermining the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia" and "misleading foreign citizens."

Abkhazia declared independence shortly after Russia defeated Georgia in a brief 2008 war.

Only Russia, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and two Pacific island countries have recognized Abkhazia as an independent country.

However, when asked about the IOC's view of Olympics visitors going to Abkhazia, Mark Adams said there is no reason not to go to the region.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, dpa, and Interfax

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