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Georgia’s presence at Sochi Olympics not assured

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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.”

Sochi unveils souvenir ticket design

WATCH LIVE: London Marathon

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Watch the world’s best distance runners chase world records at the London Marathon, live on NBCSN and commercial free on the NBC Sports Gold “Track and Field Pass” for subscribers on Sunday at 3:30 a.m. ET.

NBCSN coverage also streams on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app for subscribers.

WATCH LIVE: London Marathon
NBCSN coverage — STREAM LINK
NBC Sports Gold commercial free — STREAM LINK

Sunday’s race start times (ET)
3:55 – Elite Wheelchair Races
4:00 – World Para Athletics Marathon World Cup ambulant races
4:15 – Elite Women’s Race
5:00 – Elite Men’s Race, Mass Race

The men’s field features arguably the two greatest distance runners of all time — Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge and Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele.

Kipchoge, the Rio Olympic marathon champ, ran the fastest marathon ever recorded — 2:00:25 in Nike’s sub-two-hour attempt last May in non-record-eligible conditions.

Bekele is the second-fastest marathoner in history under legal conditions, having run six seconds shy of Kenyan Dennis Kimetto‘s world record of 2:02:57 from 2014.

In the women’s race, Kenyan Mary Keitany, already the world-record holder in a women’s-only race, looks to take down Brit Paula Radcliffe‘s world record with male pacers set in London 15 years ago. That time is 2:15:25.

Keitany is challenged by Ethiopian Tirunesh Dibaba, the third-fastest female marathoner in history behind Keitany and Radcliffe.

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Teddy Riner, dominant judoka, to skip 2018, 2019 Worlds

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French judoka Teddy Riner, arguably the world’s most dominant athlete, will reportedly skip the next two world championships before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

French coach Franck Chambily said Riner will compete a light international schedule the next two years ahead of what would be his fourth Olympics, according to Agence France-Presse.

Riner, a 29-year-old, 6-foot-8-inch native of Guadeloupe, is undefeated since 2010 with a reported 144-match winning streak. That includes Olympic titles in 2012 and 2016 and world titles in 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017.

Before the streak, Riner also earned world titles in 2007, 2009 and 2010, plus an Olympic bronze at age 19 in 2008.

He could compete through the 2024 Paris Games.

“When I am invincible, I will stop,” Riner said in 2013, according to The Associated Press.

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