The top Alpine ski nations "are upset four months ahead of the 2014 Sochi Winter Games because the participation quota has changed in favor of 'smaller' nations," according to Ö24. Countries such as Austria and the U.S. "are threatened with reduced team sizes for the Games in the Russian Black Sea resort city." The Austrian Ski Federation (ÖSV) "would be hit especially hard." The ÖSV, which previously always had the maximum number of 22 Alpine skiers in its Olympic team, "would be only able to nominate 15." The reason for the new quota is the IOC and Int'l Ski Federation's (FIS) "wish to have more nations participate at the Olympics." Of the 1,319 FIS spots for the Olympics, 320 go to Alpine skiers. The maximum quota of 22 Alpine skiers "remains unchanged, however, due to multiple qualification systems it has become easier for smaller nations to get extra spots since July '12." In addition, the requirement of previous World Championship participation "has been removed" (Ö24, 10/1).
An award-winning Dutch photojournalist who has been working in Russia's North Caucasus region for five years "has been refused a Russian visa in what he says was likely an attempt to suspend his critical reporting" ahead of the 2014 Sochi Olympics, according to Yekaterina Kravtsova of the MOSCOW TIMES. Photojournalist Rob Hornstra and his colleague, writer Arnold Van Bruggen, "have produced a series of reports from Sochi and its surrounding areas as part of a project that has seen the pair interview local residents to document ongoing trouble and human rights violations in the North Caucasus." Hornstra said that the Dutch Embassy "had asked Russian authorities to cite a reason for the visa refusal," but that no official explanation "had been provided yet." The Dutch Embassy "could not be reached for comment." The Sochi Project was launched by Hornstra and Van Bruggen in '09 after Sochi "was announced as the host city of the 2014 Winter Olympics." In an interview with Lenta.ru in '12, Hornstra said that the main aim of the project "was to determine why there were ethnic tensions in the region and how these tensions could influence the Sochi Games, as well as how the games could influence the lives of the region's residents living below the poverty line" (MOSCOW TIMES, 9/30).
German Olympic and Paralympic athletes have presented their official outfits for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games during a fashion show at the Dusseldorf Convention Center. The outfits, which are very colorful, have been created by the German Olympic Sports Association's (DOSB) official outfitters adidas, Bogner and Sioux (DOSB). ... Russia's military "will help ensure security during the preparations for and throughout next year’s Winter Olympic Games" (RIA NOVOSTI, 9/30). ... Russian Olympic Committee President Alexander Zhukov "is among the torchbearers for the first stage of the Sochi 2014 torch relay in Moscow next week." About 300 of the total 14,000 torchbearers "are to carry the Olympic flame through the streets of the Russian capital starting on Red Square" on Monday (R-SPORT, 10/1). ... The Australian Institute of Sport "has begun to cast its net wider in the search for future Olympians, launching a draft system" Tuesday "to help athletes in other sports transfer their talents into the Olympic realm." The AIS "will conduct selection trials for boxing and judo in eight cities around Australia over the next two months, looking to recruit talented athletes who have reached a dead end in other sports or are looking for a new challenge" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 10/2). ... UAE Special Olympics President Mohammad Fadil Al Hameli "has formally announced his candidature for election to the prestigious governing board of the International Paralympic Committee." Al Hameli said that "he hoped the UAE’s achievements at various Special Olympics in the past few years would stand him in good stead" (GULF NEWS, 10/1).