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SBD/January 20, 2014/Olympics
Putin Denies Widespread Corruption At Sochi Games, Tabs Construction Costs At $6.5B
Published January 20, 2014
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ALLAYING CONCERNS: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Alexander Kolyandr noted Putin "offered assurances that gays would be welcome" in Russia during the Olympics. He said, "People have different sexual orientation, and we welcome all the guests and the athletes." However, he "criticized what he called attempts to politicize the Olympics." Putin: "The Olympics is not a competition of politicians. It is a competition of athletes." He said mixing sports and politics was "absolutely inappropriate" (WSJ.com, 1/19).
FILLING SEATS: In L.A., David Wharton reported Putin "told volunteers they might be allowed to fill the empty seats" at the Games because organizers are reporting 30% of tickets remain unsold. Putin said, "Why should places go empty? It's better that they're filled, and occupied by people who love sport." Higher-priced tickets for 73 medal events "have yet to be sold," and this includes seats for alpine skiing and the men's hockey Bronze-Medal game (LATIMES.com, 1/18).