Georgia’s presence at Sochi Olympics not assured
Georgia’s president-elect is considering attending the Sochi Olympics, he said Sunday amid tensions between Georgia and Russia.
“We are considering this issue by our team,” Giorgi Margvelashvili said on TV, according to Trend News Agency.
The Olympics could, “give a start to some new relations not only in Russia but in the entire world,” Margvelashvili said on TV, according to RIA Novosti.
Margvelashvili was elected Georgian president on Oct. 27.
Richard Norland, the U.S. Ambassador to Georgia, said the decision on whether Georgia will participate in the Olympics will be made later.
“Georgia’s feelings are clear,” Norland said, according to Trend. “However, in terms of regional security interests, the country seeks to take constructive steps.”
Georgia, with 4.5 million people, is the country bordering Russia that’s closest to Sochi. It hasn’t won a Winter Olympic medal since its debut in 1994 after the fall of the Soviet Union.
Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili died on a training run the day before the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Opening Ceremony.
Recently, Georgian officials were reportedly unhappy that a Russian military pilot from the 2008 Russia-Georgia conflict was chosen as one of the torch bearers for the Sochi Olympic torch relay.
Georgia and Russia were in conflict during the 2008 Beijing Olympics over a breakaway region that left hundreds dead, and the two bordering nations have had disagreements since.
In May, the Georgian Olympic Committee put its Sochi participation to a vote and unanimously decided to take part.
In October, Georgia’s prime minister said the nation won’t take part in the Sochi Olympics if it’s expected to be “humiliating” for the country.
“We should see how the situation evolves,” Bidzina Ivanishvili said in an interview with Georgian Public Broadcaster’s First Channel, according to RIA Novosti. “And if we feel before the Games that the participation is humiliating for us, then, of course, we won’t take part.”