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Russian Olympics Chief Contradicts IOC Head On Political Statements

Dmitry Chernyshenko, president of the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee, is seen here during the September presentation in Moscow of special projects for the Sochi 2014 Olympic torch relay.
The Russian head of the Sochi Olympics, Dmitry Chernyshenko, says he doesn't think athletes should be allowed to express their political views during their news conferences at the Games.

His position appears to directly contradict International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, who said athletes were permitted to make political statements at press conferences.

Bach said on January 27 that the Olympics "cannot be used as a stage for political demonstrations," but that "athletes enjoy the freedom of speech so if in a press conference they wanted to make a political statement, then they are absolutely free to do so."

In his remarks on January 29, Chernyshenko said athletes would be free to speak about politics at a specially designated area of Sochi, away from Olympic venues.

The Sochi Games open on February 7.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP