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SOCHI, February 8 (RIA Novosti) - Russian President Vladimir Putin has invited visitors to the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, due to be held in the southern Russian resort of Sochi on the Black Sea next February.
“We invite to Russia all those who love sports and fair uncompromising struggle,” Putin said at a ceremony to mark one year before the start of the 2014 Winter Olympics on Thursday.
“In 2007, the International Olympic Committee [IOC] supported the Olympic dream of millions of Russian nationals,” Putin said. “We are doing everything possible to justify the confidence.”
The Russian president said he hoped the Sochi Games would take world sports to a qualitatively new level.
IOC President Jacques Rogge, who was present at the ceremony, said Thursday he did not doubt Sochi would be ready to host the Olympics.
Putin personally lobbied IOC officials in 2007 to ensure Russia was granted its first Winter Games.
Russia had spent 1.1 trillion rubles ($36.7 billion) on preparatory events for the 2014 Winter Olympics by the start of 2013, according to documents prepared for a first meeting on February 1 of the state commission responsible for preparing for the Games.
Earlier Thursday, Putin called on Sochi 2014 Olympic organizers 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.
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The main event of the third day of the 11th meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club in Sochi was the closing session with President Vladimir Putin. The atmosphere was calm and open, despite the current political tensions and the Russia-West confrontation. The Russian president said that it corresponded to the spirit of the Valdai Club.