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US lawmakers want 2014 Olympic Games out of Russia

Aug. 15, 2008, 1:56 p.m. (ET)

WASHINGTON (AP) The International Olympic Committee should punish Russia by moving the 2014 Winter Olympics out of Sochi, Russia, the co-chairs of the U.S. House of Representatives' Georgia Caucus said Friday.

Reps. Allyson Schwartz, a Democrat, and Bill Shuster, a Republican, said in a joint statement they plan to file a resolution declaring that Russia's movement of troops into Georgia on the eve of the Beijing Olympics makes it an unacceptable country to host the games.

"It is practically and financially untenable to hold the 2014 Winter Olympic Games less than 20 miles (32 kilometers) from a zone of conflict, particularly when the prospective host country has played a significant role in the escalation of that conflict," according to a draft of the resolution.

IOC spokeswoman Giselle Davies said Friday the IOC believes the Olympics games are "not a tool to be used by politicians."

"It is premature to make judgments about how events happening today might sit with an event taking place six years from now," Davies said in a statement, adding that 35 representatives from the Sochi 2014 are in Beijing observing the games. Sochi is the Russian resort scheduled to host the Games.

The head of the Sochi organizing committee, Dmitry Chernyshenko, said in a statement the committee is aware of the intended resolution, and only the IOC can respond to such matters.

"All our efforts here in China are spent on learning from these wonderful Beijing Games so that we can enhance our offer for the Olympic movement," Chernyshenko said. "At Sochi 2014, our focus is to deliver an excellent and innovative Games that will inspire the world. We are on track to achieve this."

On Friday, Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili said he signed a cease-fire agreement with Russia that protects his country's interests despite concessions to Moscow.

The two lawmakers said here that they plan to file the resolution when Congress reconvenes after the August recess.

"Russia must realize that its actions in Georgia will not be ignored by the international community," Schwartz said.

Sochi was selected last year as the location for the 2014 Olympics.


Associated Press writer Steve Wilson in Beijing contributed to this report.