Wednesday, April 16, 2014


Russia

Russian Lawmaker: Less Homework, More Sochi Watching

  • Switzerland's Dominique Gisin competes during the women's alpine-skiing downhill event at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Center. Gisin won the gold along with Tina Maze of Slovenia.
  • Slovenia's Tina Maze kisses the snow in the finish area after her run in the women's downhill race at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Center. Maze won the gold along with Dominique Gisin of Switzerland.
  • Joint winners Dominique Gisin of Switzerland (left) and Tina Maze of Slovenia celebrate on the podium after the women's alpine-skiing downhill event during the flower ceremony.
  • Germany's Eric Frenzel competes in the ski-jumping portion of the nordic-combined individual event normal hill / 10 km at Russki Gorki Ski Jumping Center.
  • Russian nordic-combined fans wave flags during the individual competition at the RusSki Gorki Jumping Center.
  • Norway's Magnus Krog (front) competes during the cross-country race of the nordic-combined individual event.
  • Winner Eric Frenzel of Germany jumps on the podium as second-placed Japan's Akito Watabe (left) and third-placed Norway's Magnus Krog applaud during the flower ceremony for the nordic-combined individual normal hill/10-kilometer event.
  • Aerial skier Aleksandra Orlova of Russia jumps during a training session.
  • Finland's goalkeeper Noora Raty makes a save during the women's ice-hockey Group A match, Switzerland vs Finland, at the Shayba Arena.
  • Australia's Torah Bright competes during the women's snowboard halfpipe qualification round.
  • U.S. snowboarder Kelly Clark jumps during the qualifying round of the women’s halfpipe.
  • Volunteers enjoy swimming in the Black Sea near the Olympic Park.
  • Coaches and team members of China and the United States watch their round-robin match in the curling competition in the Ice Cube Curling Center.
  • Figure skater Natalia Popova from Ukraine skates during a training session in the practice arena.
  • Ukraine's Oleksandr Obolonchyk (front) and Roman Zakharkiv speed down the track during the men's luge doubles competition.
  • Germany's pilot Tobias Wendl (front) and Tobias Arlt take part in the men's luge doubles competition. They won the gold.
  • Gold-medalist Carina Vogt of Germany, silver-medalist Daniela Iraschko-Stolz of Austria, and bronze-medalist Coline Mattel of France stand during the medal ceremony for the women's ski-jumping individual normal hill event.
  • Silver-medal-winner Denny Morrison of Canada (front) in action during the men's 1,000-meter speed-skating race
  • Kazakhstan's Denis Kuzin during the men's 1,000-meter speed-skating race
  • Netherland's Stefan Groothuis elebrates winning the men's 1,000-meter speed-skating race.
  • Zbynek Michalek (left) of the Czech Republic (in white) battles with Sweden's Marcus Kruger in the corner during the first period of their men's preliminary-round ice-hockey game.
  • Gold medalists Tatyana Volosozhar (2nd right) and Maksim Trankov (right) of Russia and silver medalists Ksenia Stolbova (left) and Fedor Klimov (2nd left) of Russia celebrate after the pairs free skating of the figure-skating event at the Iceberg Palace.

The first dead heat for gold in the history of the Winter Olympics took place in Sochi on Day 5, February 12, as the preliminary round begins in men's ice hockey.

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A leading lawmaker from President Vladimir Putin's ruling party has urged Russian schoolteachers to cut back on homework assignments so children can spend more time watching the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.

"In my opinion, the Olympics is a huge source of education for our youth. I have a suggestion to my colleagues -- cut homework so that our children and grandchildren can watch the Olympics, see our athletes, see international athletes, see Olympic champions," Nikolai Bulayev said.

"In my opinion, that would be the correct decision."

The call came on the heels of the Russian Army's decision to give some troops an extra four hours off per day to watch television so that they can cheer on Russia's athletes.

In Sochi, meanwhile, organizers are increasingly worried that after two more nights of freezing weather, the temperature is forecast to shoot up to 11 degrees Celsius on February 14.

In a separate development, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Luge Federation (FIL) on February 12 honored Nodar Kumaritashvili on the fourth anniversary of the Georgian luger's death.

Sochi 2014: Outside The Arena

The true cost of Russia's first Olympics in more than three decades, and the most expensive games ever, goes well beyond the hefty $51 billion price tag. Read RFE/RL's Special Report.

However, no official ceremony marking Kumaritashvili's death is expected at Sochi.

Kumaritashvili died in a crash on the track on February 12, 2010, shortly before the opening of the Vancouver Winter Olympics. He was 21.

Georgia's Foreign Ministry, meanwhile, on February 12 urged foreign visitors to the Winter Olympics to stay away from its Russia-backed breakaway territory of Abkhazia, just south of Sochi along the Black Sea coast.

The region declared independence from Georgia shortly after Russia defeated Georgia in a brief 2008 war. Only Russia, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and two Pacific island states have recognized Abkhazia as an independent country.

However, asked about the IOC's view on Olympic visitors going to Abkhazia, IOC spokesman Mark Adams said he saw no reason not to go.

Based on reporting by AP, Reuters, and AFP

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