Sunday, August 10, 2008

Georgian and Russian Olympians Put Guns Down and Embrace

Despite the meticulous choreography, the Olympics Games is always certain to throw up some spontaneous moments that are impossible to manufacture.

One of those moments occurred today (10 August) at the Beijing Games during the women’s 10-meter air pistol competition and medal presentation.

The timing couldn’t have been more perfect as the shooting event, with key competitors from Russia and Georgia, took place against a backdrop of violence and war between these two countries. The conflict had reached such a level that yesterday Georgian athletes considered leaving the Games and going home.

In this shooting event Russia’s Natalia Paderina took the silver and Nino Salukvadze won the bronze–Georgia’s first medal of the Beijing Olympics.

After the medal presentation Salukvadze (the Georgian) put her arm around Paderina (the Russian) and the two posed together for photographs. Paderina than gave Salukvadze a kiss on the cheek.

Hopefully the leaders of their countries view the replay of this spectacle and become inspired to put their guns down and embrace.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: Russia's Natalia Paderina (left) and Georgia's Nino Salukvadze shared a hug and a kiss after the medal ceremony for the 10 metre air pistol final today. (Photo courtesy of AP)