Russian president Vladimir Putin called it “nothing out of the ordinary,” but said there are glitches and delays with the Olympics fewer than 150 days away.
“Despite the large amount of work that has already been done, there are still ongoing glitches and delays in time frames,” Putin said, according to R-Sport. “But overall it’s a normal thing for such a large project. There’s nothing out of the ordinary.
“We know the time the Olympics start, and we can’t slip at all.”
Putin spoke in Sochi at the opening of a $500 million Olympic university for retired athletes seeking new careers in sports. Among those set to study in Sochi are U.S. women’s hockey player Molly Engstrom and Polish swimmer Otylia Jędrzejczak.
Putin said he ordered Olympic supervisor and deputy prime minister Dmitry Kozak to send him progress reports every two weeks.
“I’m going to be coming here more often,” Putin said in Sochi.
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Japan dressage rider Hiroshi Hoketsu, who abandoned his bid to become the oldest Olympian ever in Rio, could see his career come full circle in four years.
Hoketsu, whose Olympic debut came at the Tokyo 1964 Games, is not ruling out attempting to make the Tokyo 2020 Olympics at age 79.
“If I can do it and be in Tokyo, that would be marvelous,” Hoketsu said, according to Reuters. “I have to see if it will still be physically possible.”
The oldest Olympian is Swede Oscar Swahn, who earned 1920 Olympic shooting silver at age 72.
Hoketsu, 75 and the oldest Olympian at the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Games, sought to make his fourth Olympic team this year. It was derailed due to his horse’s illness.
After debuting at Tokyo 1964, Hoketsu went 44 years between Games appearances. He finished 41st out of 50 competitors in individual dressage at London 2012, according to sports-reference.com.
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Russia’s new track and field federation president said he thinks his nation’s track and field athletes have “between 50 and 60 percent” of a chance of competing in the Rio Olympics, according to Reuters.
The IAAF is expected to rule June 17 whether Russia’s ban from international track and field competition will be lifted before the Rio Olympics.
Russia’s track and field athletes were banned indefinitely in November by the IAAF, after an independent World Anti-Doping Agency report alleged widespread doping issues.
Russia was given criteria to earn reinstatement, and Dmitry Shlyakhtin, elected new Russian track and field chief in January, believes the situation has improved.
“A mouse would not be able to slip past us now!” Shlyakhtin said, according to Reuters.
Russia has recently come under more scrutiny following reports of widespread winter sports doping leading up to the Sochi Olympics and cheating during those Winter Games to avoid positive drug tests.
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