ST. PETERSBURG, October 18 (Itar-Tass) - Russian Minister of Sport Vitaly Mutko said on Friday he was absolutely sure Georgian athletes would take part in the Winter Olympic Games in Russia’s Sochi in 2014, despite statements of the Georgian authorities about possible boycotting these Games.
“I don’t think it is a final decision,” he told journalists when asked to comment on Georgia’s possible boycott of the Sochi Olympics. “There have been no final decision as of yet. I am sure Georgian athlete will take part in the Winter Olympic Games.” He noted that sport was an instrument of uniting peoples.
He said that the practice of boycotting Olympic Games demonstrated that such steps led to nowhere. “The history has already tried politically-motivated boycotts of Olympic Games,” he noted. “All of them ended in nothing. We boycotted their Olympics, they boycotted our Olympics. And what? The only outcome of such boycotting is that athletes lost four years of training.”
He also noted that from the legal point of view, decisions to take part or to skip the Olympic Games were taken not by politicians but by sports organization and athletes themselves. “An athlete may apply for participation by him- or herself,” Mutko noted.