A group of former athletes has "asked top officials from the Indian Olympic Association to quit," a month after the IOC suspended the national body, according to Romit Guha of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. A letter signed by 20 athletes said the group supports the IOC's decision and urges IOA office bearers to step down in order to "save Indian sports." The letter is "addressed to IOA Secretary General Lalit Bhanot." Former heptathlete Reeth Abraham said that the letter "will be sent later Tuesday." Abraham also said that a copy will "also be sent to the IOC." Bhanot declined to comment Tuesday. Another former athlete who signed the letter, Ashwini Nachappa, said that the group "will urge the IOC to take speedy action" against the Indian Olympic body and its "illegal" office bearers. Nachappa said that all IOA office bearers are "illegal as they were elected in polls the IOC didn't recognize." IOC officials could not be immediately reached for comment (WSJ, 1/22).
The Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee has entered into a licensing agreement with Russian grocery market X5 Retail Group. Under the agreement, X5 will become an official Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee retail sales operator. The sales of the Sochi 2014 licensed merchandise will be organized in 45 Russian regions in 3,500 shops of its stores. With the deal, Olympic retail sales volume for the Games are expected to reach an all-time record for the history of the Winter Games. The total number of official Sochi 2014 retail stores is expected to grow to 4,300. Three different stores in the X5 chain -- Pyaterochka stores, Perekrestok supermarkets and Karusel hypermarkets -- will offer customers a wide range of Sochi 2014 licensed goods for a total of more than 1,000 items (Sochi 2014).
Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch Relay presenting partner Coca-Cola has begun the process of selecting 2,014 torchbearers for the relay, which begins on Oct. 7. The beverage company held a week-long exhibition in Moscow on Thursday to launch the Nomination Campaign. It is also hosting a 13-city tour of Russia beginning on Friday, where visitors will be able to hold the torch (IOC). ...Men's figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu "has tied the knot" with the Japanese Olympic Committee and joined the "Symbol Athlete" sponsorship program (KYODO, 1/18).