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February 16, 2014 AT 10:41 AM
Vladimir Putin says sport and politics do not mix but his actions at the Winter Olympics suggest the opposite. When he was not watching ice hockey in Sochi at the weekend, the Russian president was doing the diplomatic rounds, dropping in on foreign teams, sipping wine or tea with them, talking sport - and building bridges. He also found time to visit an injured Russian athlete in hospital and press the flesh with fans at the ski venues in the mountains above Sochi. The message was that more than a week after he declared the Games open, these are still very much Putin's Olympics, a global event on which his legacy depends.