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World media focus on luge accident as Olympics launch

As the Olympics were about to open on Friday night, the world's media paid more attention to the tragic death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili than to anything else -- and Georgia's media had still not reported the story.

Africa's media had essentially nothing about the Olympics: South Africa's Independent Online was all about soccer, tennis, and cricket.

China Daily reported on Chinese figure skaters but had not yet reported the death. Nor had Japan Times. The Times of India, however, did have the story.

Australia's Sydney Morning Herald featured the accident as "Games Horror," and New Zealand's also put the story on its front page.

In Latin America, Brazil's O Globo covered the story with a photograph of Kumaritashvili striking the steel post. El Universal, in Mexico, noted that the death was the first in the Winter Olympics since that of Swiss skiier Nicolas Bochatay at Albertville in 1992.

In Russia, RIA Novosti quoted International Luge Federation president Josef Fent as saying the death of Kumaritashvili was "the gravest thing in sport."

Surprisingly, The Georgian Times in Tbilisi had still not reported the death by 4:30 p.m. Vancouver time (4:30 a.m. Saturday in Georgia)

Crawford Kilian is a contributing editor of The Tyee.

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