Avalanche Warnings; No Polish Boycott; Russian Olympic Hopeful

(ATR) Russian ministry issues avalanche warning in mountains near Sochi... Poland will not boycott Sochi Olympics says Prime Minister... Young Russian hockey forward Nichushkin wants to play in Olympics...

Russia Issues Avalanche Warning in Sochi Mountains

Russia’s Emergencies Ministry issued an urgent warning Tuesday about avalanches in the mountains near Sochi, where Russia will host the 2014 Winter Olympics in less than two months.

"There is a likelihood of problems with energy supplies, communications, housing services and transport routes," the local branch of the Emergencies Ministry’s Krasnodar region said in a statement.

Russia is in the final stages of preparations for the Winter Olympics, which will be held in the Black Sea resort of Sochi and a sport cluster in the mountains above the city. The Games are due to start February 7.

Cold weather in the area is expected until the end of the week, when there will be a slight thaw.

The official opening of the ski season in Rosa Khutor, one of the showpiece resorts to be used for the Olympics, is scheduled for Saturday.

No Sochi Olympic Boycott by Poland – Prime Minister

Polish politicians and government officials will not boycott the Sochi Winter Olympics, Prime Minister Donald Tusk said Monday, but admitted he had no plans to attend the opening ceremony.

Calls to boycott the Games over human rights issues have been widespread for several months, especially concerning a Russian law that limits public discussion of homosexuality. The issue was revived Sunday when German magazine Der Spiegel reported the country’s president Joachim Gauck would not visit Sochi.

Tusk, who has been Prime Minister since 2007, said he would not attend the opening ceremony - which traditionally boasts an array of world leaders - but said it should not be seen as a boycott. Poland is bidding for the 2022 Winter Olympics jointly with neighboring Slovakia.

"We are not going to boycott the Olympics. I hope nothing will happen that would prompt us to make such an abrupt move," Tusk said.

Tusk said Polish president Bronislaw Komorowski may attend.

In Germany, a spokesman for the chancellor's office refused to comment on Gauck’s decision, and insisted the country would send a high level delegation to the February 7-23 Olympics in Sochi.

"First we should create a new government and then it will be decided which representatives of the cabinet will go to Sochi to support our athletes," Stefan Seibert said. "The most logical candidate are the Interior and Sports Ministers."

Germany is in ongoing talks to form a government after elections in September.

Georgia, which fought a war with Russia in 2008, has said it will send athletes to Sochi but no government officials.

Nichushkin Prods Russia: I’m Ready for the Olympics

Dallas Stars forward Valeri Nichushkin told R-Sport on Tuesday he feels he is able to compete with the world’s best players is burning with desire to go to the Sochi Olympics.

Snapped up as the No. 10 overall pick in June’s draft, the 18-year-old has already broken into the team’s forward line along with Canadians Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin, notching up 12 points in 15 games since it happened last month.

"Now I am playing against the best players of other teams, against those who will participate at the Olympics," Nichushkin said. "I don’t think I perform any worse than anybody else, I don’t lose the physical challenges, I’m playing OK. We’ll see how everything will turn out, but of course I want to play at such a prominent tournament."

The 6-foot-4 forward added none of the Russian coaches had called him or his more experienced teammate Sergei Gonchar so far.

With his recent performances Nichushkin has thrown his hat into the ring for the Calder Trophy given to the top rookie of the season, as fifth top-scoring newcomer with 15 points.

"As regard to the Calder Trophy, only 50 percent depends on me, the other half depends on the team’s performance," he said. "If I play well and the team wins, then I may get it. But I don’t think about it, I’m just playing and working."

Russia coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov must submit his Olympics roster to the International Ice Hockey Federation by January 7, a month away.

In Sochi, four-time world champion Russia is under great pressure to win gold following Vancouver 2010 failure, when the team was destroyed 7-3 by Canada in the quarterfinal.

Published by exclusive arrangement with Around the Rings’ Sochi 2014 media partner RIA-Novosti.

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