Russian president Vladimir Putin and U.S. president Barack Obama will not be making any friendly wagers over the Sochi Olympics.
“No, we never make bets like that,” Putin told reporters in Russia last week (entire transcript here). “Mr. Obama also loves sports, I can tell, he looks fit, and he pays a lot of attention to it, not only by doing sports, but also to the development of sport. Practically all American presidents have made it a priority in their policy and taken effective measures. That is why the U.S. team traditionally achieves very good and impressive results.
“We wish success to our American friends, to all American athletes. I know that a lot of people in our country, millions of people admire American athletes and truly sincerely love them.”
Putin was also asked about Obama putting gay athletes Brian Boitano, Caitlin Cahow and Billie Jean King on the delegation to Sochi.
“People have different sexual orientation,” Putin said. “We would welcome all athletes and all guests at the Olympics. At some point President Obama asked me to help make arrangements for a large U.S. delegation to come. His request was related to a limited membership of national teams, including both athletes and members of various administrative bodies.
“The International Olympic Committee has its rules, but we did the best we could. We found solutions to that, bearing in mind that the U.S. has traditionally had a larger delegation at the Olympic Games than other countries, they have a large team and many representatives. We complied with their request. So, I certainly will be glad to see the representatives of any countries, including the United States, there can be no doubts as to that. If they would like to meet me and discuss anything, they are welcome, I see no problems here.”