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SOCHI, February 7 (R-Sport) – Russian President Vladimir Putin called on Sochi 2014 Olympic organizers on Thursday to redouble their efforts in one final push to stage the Games without a hitch.
“In order to make the success complete, we still need to work intensively, redoubling our efforts,” he said on a visit to the Olympic Park, exactly a year before the opening ceremony of Russia’s first Winter Olympics.
“Far from all the construction work is finished, there’s still work to be done,” Putin said. “Yes, it’s the final stage, yes, there’s no panic. Even where we have small delays, everything can still be overcome, but every bit of strength has to be tapped. There’s a need to work.”
Earlier Thursday, criticism from Putin led to a senior official being fired from his post at the Russian Olympic Committee for delays in the construction of ski jump facilities.
The president has spent the day touring Olympic sites, including the Olympic village and several venues at the Olympic Park, including the slightly delayed curling center.
He is to attend a ceremony later Thursday to celebrate a year to go until the Games. The Olympics are widely seen as his pet project.
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New ties between Russia and Japan would mark not only a breakthrough in their relations but also a significant shift in Northeast Asia’s political dynamic. Both are secondary players in a region overshadowed by an increasingly assertive China, which has not hesitated to push against the boundaries of its neighbors.