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Vladimir Luxuria, center, a former Communist lawmaker in the Italian parliament and prominent crusader for transgender rights, is led away by friends to attend a women’s ice hockey match after posing for photos on the Olympic Plaza at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Monday, Feb. 17, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. Luxuria was soon after detained by police upon entering the Shayba Arena. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
SOCHI, Russia (AP) — The International Olympic Committee on Tuesday defended the removal of an Italian gay rights activist from a Sochi arena, saying she was “escorted from there peacefully” and not detained.
Former Italian lawmaker Vladimir Luxuria was taken away by four unidentified men in a car with Olympic markings as she tried to enter an arena Monday night for a women’s hockey game.
Luxuria, dressed in rainbow colors, had been walking around Olympic Park for nearly two hours, accompanied by a scrum of reporters. Most of the Russian spectators seemed clueless about the gay rights message and some approached her to take a picture, thinking she was a carnival character. (more…)
SOCHI, Russia — In an arena filled with waving flags, the coronating presence of President Vladimir V. Putin, bouquets of tossed flowers and a whiff of scandal, Russia won its first gold medal Sunday as host of the Sochi Olympics, taking first place in a new team figure skating competition and reasserting its prominence in the marquee sport of the Winter Games.
The victory at the Iceberg Skating Palace brought a buoyant moment for the home country and a restorative achievement for a dominant figure skating team that had failed to win a gold medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. It was the first time since 1960 that Russia or the Soviet Union had failed to win gold in the sport, but it turned out to be a brief drought linked to the sporting tumult that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union.
“It’s important because it is not an individual event but a team event, and it brings joy to the whole country,” said Tamara Moskvina, who has coached Russian pairs skaters to four Olympic gold medals. “Figure skating is our tradition. It combines technique and art, and Russia has great tradition in those fields.”
WASHINGTON – Top lawmakers from the US House of Representatives’ intelligence and homeland security panels on Sunday warned of a serious threat of attacks in Russia during the Winter Olympics, though US officials say the Olympic grounds are secure.
The Olympics formally opened on Friday in Sochi. Islamist militant groups based in the nearby north Caucasus region have threatened attacks during the Feb. 7-23 Games.
“I’ve never seen a greater threat certainly in my lifetime,” said House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, a Republican from Texas.
“I think there’s a high degree of probability that something will detonate, something will go off, but I do think it’s probably most likely to happen outside of the ring of steel and the Olympic Village,” he said on “Fox News Sunday”.
Some 37,000 security personnel are on high alert in Sochi and U.S. officials on Sunday said cooperation has improved, though still not enough, between Russian and US intelligence authorities.
“We’re quite satisfied with the level of cooperation we have now,” the US Ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Janet Napolitano, head of the US Olympic delegation to Sochi and a former Homeland Security chief, also described the level of security at the Games as very good.
Austria’s Daniela Iraschko-Stolz soars through the air during a women’s ski jumping training session at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) — An openly gay women’s ski jumper says protests against Russia’s law banning homosexual “propaganda” aimed at minors aren’t worth it because “no one cares.”
Daniela Iraschko-Stolz of Austria, who is a gold medal favorite in the women’s normal hill, married partner Isabel Stolz last year.
“I don’t think it’s a good idea to make protests here, no one cares,” she said after training Sunday. “I know Russia will go and make the right steps in the future and we should give them time.” (more…)
Jamie Anderson of the United States, right, celebrates her score with Switzerland’s Sina Candrian, center, and Britain’s Jenny Jones, left, after Anderson’s run in the women’s snowboard slopestyle final at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. Anderson won the gold, Jones won the bronze, and Enni Rukajarvi of Finland won the silver. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) — There was a lot of ugliness out on that supersized Olympic slopestyle course Sunday — crashes, splashes, face plants, even a cracked helmet.
As she so often does, Jamie Anderson made things look beautiful again.
The world’s most consistent rider came through big under a huge amount of pressure — “I was freaking out,” she said — riding clean on the rails and stomping down three high-flying jumps on her second, and make-or-break, trip down the mountain. She scored a 95.25 on that run to make America 2 for 2 in slopestyle’s colorful and treacherous debut on the Olympic stage.
“It’s kind of a big deal,” said the gold medalist, who earlier this winter had conceded she was heading to Russia with some reservations about what the Olympics really stand for. “This is The Event.”
Enni Rukajarvi of Finland won silver and Jenny Jones took bronze to give Britain its first Olympic medal on the snow. (more…)