SOCHI, February 13. /ITAR-TASS/. The seven-fold Olympic champion, Norwegian biathlete Ole Einar Bjoerndalen is sure he was absolutely right to support Sochi seven years ago to host the Winter Olympic Games. One of the greatest athletes told an Itar-Tass correspondent that he believed Russia had needed to hold such a sport forum.
In July 2007, before Russia's delegation left for Guatemala, where an Olympic capital was to be chosen, the Norwegian together with Russian athletes met with Russian President Vladimir Putin. That day, Bjoerndalen wished Sochi success and presented his skis as a talisman to Putin. The skis once helped him to win a world championship. "I hope you will win with them," the biathlete said to the Russian president.
"I was glad to meet Putin several years ago," he noted. The Olympic champion thought the 2014 Games would be the last for him. He also felt it was very important for Russia to host the Olympics.
Luckily, it happened so. Sochi won, and the Games have become fortunate for the Norwegian biathlete. He won his seventh Olympic gold medal when he was the best in the sprint race.
He recalled that Russia before 2007 only once hosted a world championship -- a race of teams in 1992 in Novosibirsk.
"So, I supported the idea to hold the Games in your country. Sochi has become an Olympic capital, and now I am very happy to be here. These are fantastic games," he said.
Bjoerndalen said he had not met with the Russian president since then.