SOCHI, Russia (AP) — IOC President Thomas Bach took a shot at former President George Bush for breaking the traditional protocol at the opening ceremony of the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City.
Bach was asked at a news conference whether Russian President Vladimir Putin might use Friday night's opening ceremony in Sochi as political propaganda. Bach said, under the Olympic Charter, heads of state speak only one sentence, declaring the games open.
Bach said all leaders have kept to the script — "except for one who violated the charter in Salt Lake City in 2002." The Salt Lake Games were held less than five months after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
Bush prefaced his declaration with a few non-scripted patriotic words: "On behalf of a proud, determined and grateful nation, I declare open the games of Salt Lake City, celebrating the Winter Games."
Said Bach: "All the other heads of state respected the charter and I'm absolutely sure the charter will be respected tonight." Putin stayed true to the text, saying in Russian: "I declare open the 22nd Olympic Winter Games in Sochi."
— Stephen Wilson — Twitter http://twitter.com/stevewilsonap
Associated Press reporters will be filing dispatches about happenings in and around Sochi during the 2014 Winter Games. Follow AP journalists covering the Olympics on Twitter: http://apne.ws/1c3WMiu