Georgian National Olympic Committee endorsed unanimously on May 2 to take part in 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.
Such a decision was expected from the committee, especially after Georgia’s PM Bidzina Ivanishvili stated for number of times that he was in favor of Georgia’s participation in the Olympic Games in Russia.
President of the Georgian National Olympic Committee, Leri Khabelov, said that politics and sports should be separated and athletes should not be deprived of an opportunity to contest one of the major sporting events.
Although never saying it directly that Georgia should boycott Sochi Olympics, President Saakashvili was always indicating that the venue for 2014 Olympic Games was problematic.
“It is a huge problem, because just few kilometers from the Olympic site Russia has officially, on the political level legalized ethnic cleansing [in Abkhazia],” Saakashvili said in February, 2011. “In this sense they have problems, but this problem was not created by us.”
When asked during an interview with the Czech news channel ČT24 in October, 2011 whether Georgia would boycott the Sochi Olympics or not, Saakashvili responded that it was not up to him, but up to the Georgian National Olympic Committee to decide.
He, however, again stressed that the Sochi was just next to Abkhazia where ethnic cleansing took place and also added: “It’s also the place where the Cherkess genocide took place.”
In 2011 Georgia became the first and so far the only country, which has recognized the 19th century massacre and deportations of Circassians by the tsarist Russia in the northwest Caucasus as “genocide”.
Georgia was itself competing for hosting 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Borjomi and Bakuriani. But after Georgia’s bid was eliminated, President Saakashvili said in February, 2007, that Georgia would support Russia’s bid to hold the Olympics in Sochi.
Saakashvili said in February, 2011 Georgia supported “openly and with huge enthusiasm” Sochi’s bid, “because I thought that it would have helped us avoid those negative trends which were already obvious at the time, especially in respect of Abkhazia.”