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Olympic day of politics and power on the slopes

February 18, 2014 • World News


Gold medallist Jorrit Bergsma of the Netherlands celebrates after the final race in the men’s 10,000-meter speedskating race at the Adler Arena Skating Center during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

SOCHI, Russia (AP) — The politics got a little hotter. The slopes got a lot slushier.

On a day when the mountain courses seemed better suited for the crawl or butterfly but posed no obstacle to Tina Maze, the Sochi Olympics took a more overt political turn.

Two members of the punk group Pussy Riot — Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alekhina — were among nine people detained Tuesday while walking in downtown Sochi. All were later released and no charges were filed.

The two group members burst from the police station wearing trademark ski masks — one pink, one blue. Police said they were questioned about a theft at the hotel where they were staying.

Pussy Riot has become an international flashpoint for those who contend Vladimir Putin’s government has exceeded its authority in dealing with an array of issues, notably human and gay rights.

“We are constantly surrounded by people … who are shadowing us, following our every move and looking for any excuse to detain us,” Tolokonnikova said after her release.

At the Olympic Park, the Russian hockey team looked plenty vulnerable in its opening hockey game in the elimination round, defeating Norway 4-0 in a game that — despite the scoreline — was anything but a Login to read more

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