Remember Vanderlei de Lima in Athens? He was leading the marathon until a spectator jumped out into his path.

The IOC later gave him the Pierre de Coubertin medal for showing the spirit of the Oympics.

I know I maybe getting ahead of myself, but I know who my choice for that award would be this time round.

I went to see Georgia's Nino Salukvadze taking part in the the women's 10m air pistol. And while her country is in a state of conflict with Russia, she managed to win bronze.


She might want to share the De Coubertin award with Russia's Natalia Paderina, who took the silver.

Because after the shooting medal ceremony, they hugged and kissed and smiled for the cameras in a moment of pure symbolism.

Salukvadze said afterwards how she couldn't sleep on Saturday night, she was so worried about her family back home. She was close to tears, and I had a lump in my throat as well.

How she kept it together in the media conference, I don't know, but Ban Ki-Moon couldn't have given a better performance.

"If the world were to draw any lessons from what I did there would never be any wars," Salukvadze said.

Paderina was also impressive - emphasising her friendship with the Georgian, which stretches back to when Salukvadze was part of the Russian team.

"We don't get mixed up in political things. Sport is beyond politics," she said.

Perhaps she could give her compatriot Nikolay Davydenko a lesson in diplomacy.

"I don't want to support Russia, Georgia or Abkhazia, but I think Georgia is doing a stupid thing by making war during the Olympic Games," said the tennis player.

Georgia's volleyball president, Levan Akhvlediani, was similarly steadfast, ahead of the Russia-Georgia beach volleyball match on Wednesday.

"If we need, we are ready to go back to Georgia like soldiers, because our country needs it, if we need it, but I think after the president asked us to stay here, we have to respect this and stay here."

So for now the two teams will remain at the Games, and continue to live cheek by jowl in the Olympic village.

And in Nino Salukvadze, the Olympic Games have found a new star - someone who can show how at a time when sport doesn't matter, it still means so much.

James Munro is the BBC’s sports news correspondent. Our FAQs should answer any questions you have.


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