The Russian Olympic Committee gala. (ATR)
The Russian Olympic Committee plays host at a gala in Moscow to celebrate the centennial of ties to the Olympic Movement.
Olympians from four generations and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin were the stars at the gala attended by more than 1,000.
“We are proud that Russia was at the foundation of the Olympic Movement,” said Putin.
“The spirit of competition is something that unites us, that we share,” he continued, invoking the name of Olympics founder Pierre De Coubertin.
Putin spoke on the night that also marks the start of the official campaign for his election to a new term as President of Russia. He is expected to win the Dec.3 vote, opening the possibility for him to serve three new terms as Russian leader, which would include the 2014 Olympics in Sochi and the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Vladimir Putin at the gala. (ATR)
While it was a mostly Russian audience, nearly 300 guests were delegates from the just-ended European Olympic Committees general assembly held in Russia, including IOC President Jacques Rogge.
“May I offer warm applause to the heroes of the night, the athletes of Russia,” said Rogge, also saluting the many sports leaders in the room, coaches and trainers, as well as national federation leaders.
“Russian contributes more than through its athletes and sports leaders,” said the IOC president. “Russia contributes by staging major sports events. It is only one of a handful of countries that can say it has organized both summer and winter Games, the World Cup, the Universiade, world championships in swimming, athletics and ice hockey,” he said.
The party for the NOC was held in the shadow of the Kremlin at the Manezh Central Exhibition Hall. Worldwide Olympic sponsor Procter & Gamble was the sponsor for the event, along with ROC sponsor Megafon.
To be more precise about the anniversary, the Russian Olympic Committee has existed through three iterations since the first NOC was formed in 1911 under the Russian Empire. The 1917 revolution changed the empire into the Soviet Union, which did not compete again at the Olympics until 1952. The dissolution of the Soviet Union 30 years ago led to the present Russian Olympic Committee which was recognized by the IOC in 1993.
India Considers 2012 Boycott
Dow will drape Olympic Stadium in a wrap following the Games. (LOCOG)
Indian athletes’ petitions prompted the India Olympic Association to consider a London 2012 boycott.
Athletes outrage stems from Dow Chemicals’ Olympic sponsorship, and the 1984 Bhopal gas disaster.
Olympians asked Ajay Maken, Indian sports minister, to boycott the Games if Dow remains an Olympic sponsor.
Media reports said the IOA will consider a boycott in 10 days.
In 2001, Dow Chemical bought Union Carbide, which owned the majority of the stocks of the company responsible at the time of the incident.
Dow has insisted it should not be blamed for the tragedy, and LOCOG has offered support for the TOP sponsor.
Syria Skipping Arab Games
The Syrian Olympic Committee says it will not participate in the 2011 Arab Games due to an international “conspiracy.”
In a letter to the Union of Arab National Olympic Committees, the organizing body for the Games, the SOC was reported to write a “conspiracy hatched against Syria and its people by the USA, the Western countries and those who lurk for the unity of the Arab nation's territories and people," would keep them from participating.
Confusion loomed earlier in the month when SOC officials said they would not participate in the Arab Games.
However, organizers of the event, scheduled for Dec. 9 – 23 in Doha.
Dodoo Continuing Lawsuit
Francis Dodoo, the newly-elected president of the Ghana Olympic Committee said he will continue his lawsuit against Frank Appiah, who lost to Dodoo in the Oct. 29 election.
Last year, Appiah alleged that Dodoo used performance-enhancing drugs at the 1988 Seoul Olympics and in January, Dodoo began legal action against him.
Dodoo denies using any banned substances and says he now has evidence supporting his claim.
“Fortunately, Frank and I will be in court,” he told Ghanaian media.
“He will have the chance to explain these things that he recklessly put out in the public domain.”
Dodoo added his family began questioning his career following the charges.
“You are sitting at home and your children come and ask you: ‘daddy is it true you were taking steroids when you were an athlete?’ And you imagine what they must have heard in school to make them come and ask you that question.
“And why? Because some person somewhere decides to throw a lie out into the public domain. It is unfortunate but I personally can handle it.”
Written and reported in Moscow by Ed Hula.
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