Costas Defends Putin Criticism; German Bobsledder Banned

(ATR) NBC host Bob Costas clarifies Putin comments ... A German bobsled driver was found to have aided Russia.

TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) ob Costas, Matt Lauer from the 2014 Olympics in Socci -- (Photo by: Joe Scarnici/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) ob Costas, Matt Lauer from the 2014 Olympics in Socci -- (Photo by: Joe Scarnici/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)

Costas Clarifies Putin Comments

NBC Olympics host Bob Costas clarified comments he made about Russian President Vladimir Putin during the Sochi Olympics.

Costas said during one of the Games broadcasts that Putin is head of a government "which imprisons dissidents, is hostile to gay rights, sponsors and supports a vicious regime in Syria, and that’s just a partial list.

"No amount of Olympic glory can mask those realities."

The veteran sportscaster was criticized by some for making a political statement at what is ostensibly a non-political event. Costas, however, says the quote was taken out of context.

"This was not a profile of Putin," said Costas on FOX News. "It was a set up to a conversation in which Putin would immediately be called an autocrat."

When asked why delve into the issues, Costas said it was necessary to "frame the backdrop" of the Games.

"The 1984 Olympics weren’t Ronald Reagan’s Games. They were Peter Ueberroth’s. The 1996 Olympics were Billy Payne’s, not Bill Clinton’s. The 2002 Olympics were Mitt Romney’s, not George Bush’s.

"These were Putin’s Games."

German Bobsledder Banned for Helping Russian Medalist

German bobsled driver Manuel Machata was banned from racing for one year after aiding a competitor in Sochi.

The German bobsled federation handed down the punishment after learning that Machata, who did not qualify for the Olympics, lent his bobsled runners to Russia’s Alexander Zubkov for a fee.

Zubkov won two gold medals, while Germany failed to receive a medal.

The federation, according to the AP, called "the relatively hard punishment" a "first step to defend national interests."

Machata also received a fine of 5,000 euros.

Written by Nick Devlin

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