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Putin seeks to move venues for 2014 Winter Games

July 3, 2008 | 10:46 am

Vladimir Putin

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin met with environmentalists and construction officials today and asked that some venues for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics be moved, citing ecological concerns.

The Russian resort city was chosen last year to host the Games despite environmentalists’ concerns.

According to the Associated Press, Putin called for the bobsled track and the athletes’

village for snow sports to be relocated after consultation with the International Olympic Committee.

"In determining priorities — money or ecology — we choose ecology," AP quotes Putin as saying. "If the balance of nature is upset, this could lead to a situation that would be impossible to restore for any money."

Both venues cited were planned for the undeveloped Grushevy Ridge, adjacent to a nature reserve. Along with the possible damage to the pristine area, environmentalists warned the bobsled track in particular would obstruct animal foraging tracks.

-- Debbie Goffa

Photo: Vladimir Putin at his meeting with environmentalists and Russian Olympic officials. Behind him is a picture of the Black Sea resort of Sochi. Credit: Alexei Nikolsky / Associated Press-RIA-Novosti, Pool