Putin arrives in Guatemala for IOC meeting

Updated: July 2, 2007, 8:35 PM ET
Associated Press

GUATEMALA CITY -- Russian President Vladimir Putin added star power to Russia's bid for the 2014 Olympics on Monday when he arrived in Guatemala for a meeting of the International Olympic Committee.

Putin came direct from talks with U.S. President George W. Bush in Kennebunkport, Maine.

While he is scheduled to visit Guatemala's President Oscar Berger, Putin's main goal is to win the Winter Olympic Games for Sochi, Russia's Black Sea resort.

Putin will lead Russia's delegation in a final presentation to the IOC before it votes on Wednesday, and he can take advantage of his status as one of the world's most powerful men in lobbying IOC delegates ahead of the decision.

"He's the captain of the team," Sochi bid chief Dmitri Chernyshenko said this week.

Also competing are Salzburg, Austria, and Pyeongchang, South Korea, whose national leaders arrived earlier to back their countries' bids.

Guatemalan Foreign Minister Gert Rosenthal met Putin.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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