SKOLKOVO, December 11 (R-Sport) – US President Barack Obama is unlikely to attend February’s Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, but could send a delegation headed by “former advisors,” US ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul suggested Wednesday.
Obama has attended neither of the two Olympics that have taken place during his five years in office, but has sent high-level figures to lead the US delegations - Vice President Joe Biden headed the American presence at Vancouver 2010, while First Lady Michelle Obama was present for London 2012.
“There will be a presidential delegation, that’s 100 percent,” McFaul said in Russian-language comments.
“His wife opened the London Olympics, and it happens that sometimes (the delegation) is former advisors or a famous person connected with Obama. But there’s a discussion still going on about who will head it.”
The delegation will be present at the Sochi opening ceremony February 7 and closing ceremony February 23, as well as for March’s Paralympics, McFaul added.
Germany’s President Joachim Gauck will not attend, Der Spiegel magazine has reported, in what has been widely seen as a protest against Russian human rights issues.
Poland, which often has strained relations with Russia, has vowed to send a delegation, but it will not include Prime Minister Donald Tusk and may not feature President Bronislaw Komorowski.
Georgia, which fought a war with Russia in 2008, has said it will send athletes to Sochi but no government officials.