Putin Reportedly to Skip Olympics; Chavez, Obama for Joint Baseball-Softball Pitch?
Putin Reportedly to Skip Olympics
Russian President Vladimir Putin is reportedly planning to skip the London Olympics.
Vladimir Putin took office again as Russian president earlier this month. (Getty Images)
A report in London’s The Guardian citing “diplomatic sources” says the president will skip the Opening Ceremonies “in an apparent signal of the Russian president's continuing displeasure and irritation with Britain.”
It's traditional for heads of state to attend the opening ceremonies as a diplomatic goodwill gesture.
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attempted to get confirmation from President Putin’s spokesperson but was unsuccessful.
The daily reports that Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev will attend the ceremonies instead.
If true, this would mark the second high-profile snub of major world events from Putin in recent weeks. He declined to attend the G-8 Summit in Chicago, instead sending his PM Medvedev.
Sochi, Russia is the host of the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Chavez, Obama for Joint Olympics Pitch?
Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez jokes that he and U.S. counterpart Barack Obama should jointly lobby for the Olympic reinstatement of softball and baseball.
Hugo Chavez is an avid fan of baseball and softball. (Getty Images)
"Let's go Obama, together. Alliances can be made," he said Tuesday during a televised speech, expressing regret that neither sport will be played at London 2012.
Chavez added that Fidel and Raul Castro of Cuba would also “fight for baseball and softball,” according to an Associated Press report.
Cuba won three of the five baseball gold medals on offer beginning with Barcelona 1992, and the U.S. won three of four softball golds from Atlanta 1996. Venezuela competed in the softball tournament at Beijing 2008 before both sports were dropped from the Olympic program.
The International Baseball Federation and International Softball Federation are now awaiting word from the IOC whether a joint bid for 2020 will be allowed under the Olympic Charter. The sports are among eight shortlisted by the IOC ahead of a September 2013 decision.
Ukraine Blasts Report
Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleh Voloshyn blasts a BBC documentary appearing to portray Ukraine and Poland in an unfavorable light ahead of the Euro 2012 football finals.
Titled “Euro 2012: Stadiums of Hate”, the documentary featured footage of violent and racist encounters between fans and armed forces at matches. Scenes of burning stadiums, fans singing racially charged anthems and youths attacking riot police make up the majority of the TV spot.
Voloshyn called the BBC’s portrayal of the host countries “outrageous”.
“Nazi symbols can be seen at ... any match in England, but does it mean that fans should not come to London for the Olympics?” he said.
“We believe this report is outrageous, done in the best traditions of Soviet journalism. Ukraine is one of the leaders in Europe in terms of religious and racial tolerance."
Ukraine NOC Opens Olympic House
The President of Ukraine helped open Olympic House, the new home for the Ukraine National Olympic Committee, on Tuesday.
Olympic House's opening. (UNOC)
“We have worked hard for many years to get Olympians their shelter,” Viktor Yanukovych said at the opening.
"I am confident that today's event will give additional impetus and a double motivation and effort in building the Olympic movement, the fight for medals in London and to be eligible for the 2022 Winter Olympics in the Carpathians,” UNOC president Sergey Bubka added.
Bubka paid special tribute to Yanukovych’s work in opening Olympic House. The Ukrainian president also served as UNOC president from 2002 to 2005.
Olympic House is a 1,600-square-meter facility.
Noah Predicts French Medal Contention
French center Joakim Noah says the team can compete for a medal in basketball at the Olympics. France’s last medal, a silver, came in Sydney.
"Our group is very talented," Noah told FIBA.com. "We have a lot of very good players and everyone is extremely motivated to help France do its best during the competition.
"We’ll fight for a medal."
Written by Ed Hula III.
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