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After memorial service, luger's body sent home

VANCOUVER — With the head of the Vancouver Games helping carry the casket to its hearse, the young Georgian luger killed in a crash that shook the Olympics began the journey to his hometown Monday.

The body of Nodar Kumaritashvili was flown first to Germany after a candlelit memorial service during which members of the Georgian delegation filed past. It was to arrive Wednesday in Bakuriani, Georgia, a small ski resort of about 1,500 that has been plunged into mourning. It was to be met by Patriarch Ilia II, the Georgian spiritual leader.

"For every family in the village, it's a tragedy," said Ramaz Goglidze, a Georgian Olympic official, tears streaming down his face after the private service. "Even people who never met him cry all day. Everyone."

Kumaritashvili died hours before Friday's opening ceremony when he lost control of his sled during a training run on the lightning-fast track in Whistler and slammed into a trackside steel pole.

Injury updates: Canada's men's hockey is keeping the Anaheim Ducks' Ryan Getzlaf on its roster a week after the center injured an ankle and missed two games. Rosters had to be set by Monday, the day before competition begins. … Lindsey Vonn said a "bumpy" and "jarring" downhill training course in Whistler didn't do her badly bruised shin any favors. Calling it "probably the worst course for my shin," the American Alpine star, in the first official training session, finished the more testing upper section in the fastest time of the morning runs. Vonn said she hoped today's training would be postponed because of weather, giving the shin, hurt Feb. 2, another day to heal.

TV ratings: The first two days of NBC's coverage was watched by about 97 million people, the most since 1994, when interest was boosted by the Tonya Harding-Nancy Kerrigan figure skating scandal. NBC said its audience for Saturday night (26.2 million total viewers) surpassed that of each of the 17 nights of the 2006 Olympics, according to Nielsen Media Research.

After memorial service, luger's body sent home 02/15/10 [Last modified: Monday, February 15, 2010 10:20pm]

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