Inside Lines: David Cameron may follow President Obama in giving Sochi the cold shoulder

 

Prime Minister David Cameron may be set to join US President Obama and the presidents of Germany and France in giving February's Winter Olympics in Sochi a miss.

Normally he would be expected to attend at least the opening or closing ceremonies of the first Games after London 2012 as a matter of protocol, but Whitehall sources say he is "mulling over" the situation because of Russia's new anti-gay laws and has yet to make a decision.

However, Britain will have a strong political presence in Sochi, with the Culture Secretary Maria Miller and sports minister Helen Grant scheduled to watch a number of events. This is in response to urging from the British Olympic Association to show Government support for Team GB. As both Miller and Grant also have ministerial responsibility for Equalitities doubtless they will be keenly watching Russian reaction to any protest demonstrations over the gay rights issue.

There are no known gay athletes in the British team so far selected but Obama is pointedly sending a delegation which includes tennis legend Billie Jean King, former figure-skating star Brian Boitano and ice hockey gold medallist Caitlin Cahow, all openly gay.

Russian president Vladimir Putin clearly has been rattled by the global response to his draconian policies. This is evident by the release from jail of the Pussy Riot and Greenpeace activists and now the sudden pardoning of long-time imprisoned political opponent Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

Another victory for sports power?

Bazza beaming

No wonder Barry Hearn is adding a smiley face to his copious text messages these days. The ubiquitous impresario, now a sprightly pensioner, is master of all he surveys in many sporting fields, not least darts and snooker, while the Matchroom Boxing organisation he runs with promoter son Eddie has hoovered up much of the marquee talent.

But the main reason Bazza beams so broadly is not just because of his election to the US-based Boxing Hall of Fame, where rival Frank Warren is already ensconced, but at what he sees as the real prospect of Leyton Orient, the football club he owns, trotting out to play in the Olympic Stadium after all.

After losing a multitude of legal battles, he now believes that last week's surprise U-turn by the London Legacy Development Corporation following the House of Lords report which recommended that Orient be allowed "occasional use" of the stadium, means there is nothing to stop him striking a deal for Orient to play at the venue when it is not being used by anchor tenants West Ham. A major breakthrough, he says.

And he impishly reckons that the way things are shaping up, with the Hammers struggling in the Premier League and Orient riding high in League One, they could be meeting there in Championship when the venue is ready for footy in 2015.

Mayday for Khan?

A fight between Floyd Mayweather Jnr and Amir Khan is due to be announced soon, with Bolton's former world champion trousering at least $6m (£3.6m) for his pains, which are likely to be considerable.

The May fight is said to be a done deal, with BoxNation securing the British TV rights, but will prove a harder sell in the United States, with Khan given next-to-no chance. Could this be why Mayweather is talking up Argentinian hard man Marcos Maidana who last week brilliantly deflated the insufferable ego of WBA welter champ Adrien Broner, as a prospective opponent?

a.hubbard@independent.co.uk

News
news
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark production team claims innocence of viewers' ab frenzy
Life and Style
Google marks the 81st anniversary of the Loch Ness Monster's most famous photograph
techIt's the 81st anniversary of THAT iconic photograph
News
Katie Hopkins makes a living out of courting controversy
people
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £38,000

£16000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to continued expansion, an ...

Ashdown Group: Senior .Net Developer - Kingston Upon Thames, Surrey

£65000 - £70000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A long-established, tech...

Ashdown Group: Editor-in-chief - Financial Services - City, London

£60000 - £70000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Ashdown Group: Software Development Project Manager - Kingston Upon Thames

£55000 - £60000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Experienced Software Dev...

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders