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BACKGROUND Sochi Olympics under doping cloud

Europe
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Berlin (dpa) - As a prestige project of Russian President Vladimir Putin the "Winter Games under palm trees" were politically charged from the outset.

Some Western leaders boycotted the 37.5-billion-euro (41-billion-dollar) Olympic spectacle at the Black Sea resort of Sochi over democracy and gay rights issues.

But many athletes praised the Games which ran from February 7 to 23, 2014 under the motto Hot.Cool.Yours.

Hosts Russia topped the medals table with 13 gold medals and 33 in all, followed by Norway (11-5-10) and Canada (10-10-5).

The most successful athlete was Victor Ahn, the South Korea-born short tracker speed skater who won three gold medals and a bronze for Russia.

Sochi will again be involved in a major event when it is one of 11 venues hosting matches at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

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