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11 Aug, 2008 06:50

Spirits remain high at Olympic Games

They came to enjoy the spectacle and support their national teams. But visiting heads of state at the Beijing games now find themselves discussing the developing crisis in Georgia.

Speaking in Beijing, US President George Bush accused Russia of disproportionate use of force in Georgia.

Politics aside, our correspondent in Beijing reports that spirits among athletes and spectators are hight as the games continue into their third day.

“I haven't heard any aggressive sentiments from people I've managed to meet here today. On a people-to-people level it is not causing a major concern,” said RT's Alexey Yaroshevsky.

Georgia earlier threatened to withdraw from the Games. Some athletes said they wished to return to their country to enlist in the army or to be with their loved ones during the crisis. They have since decided to stay on and support Georigia though their sporting endeavors.

Sport over Politics

In a timely show of solidarity, Natalia Paderina of Russia and Nino Salukvadze of Georgia exchanged a warm embrace after the pair took silver and bronze medals respectively in the Air Pistol Competition.  

“The embrace…was something many talked about as a symbol of peace, of sports being stronger than politics,” Yaroshevsky said.

The Olympic teams from both countries have confirmed they will stay at the Games despite the developing conflicts back home.