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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Tyagachyov Re-elected Olympics Chief

APTyagachyov acknowledging greetings from reporters after he was re-elected.
Leonid Tyagachyov was re-elected as president of the Russian Olympic Committee on Thursday, defeating an Olympic hero in a race that Russian media dubbed the first free election in the country's sporting history.

Tyagachyov won with 220 votes out of 300, ahead of three-time Olympic ice-skating champion Irina Rodnina, who received 39 votes. Valentin Balakhnichev, the head of the athletics federation, placed third with 18 votes.

Four other candidates for the post dropped out of the race Monday.

After the vote, Tyagachyov made immediate overtures to his longtime rival Vyacheslav Fetisov, head of the Federal Agency for Physical Culture and Sports, in what appeared to point to a deal between the two for Tyagachyov to stay on as president.

"I would very much like for Vyacheslav Alexandrovich to become first vice president," Tyagachyov said.

He said that it was not legally possible now. "But I promise you that from now you can consider Fetisov the first vice president, and legally we will deal with it later."

Tyagachyov said the Olympic committee and Fetisov's agency hoped to sign an agreement on working together, perhaps with a joint budget.

This "will allow us to beat the Americans and the Chinese in Beijing," Tyagachyov said, referring to the Summer Olympic Games in 2008.

Of the Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, in February, Tyagachyov said they would be "difficult but better than in America," referring to the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Rodnina heads Sporting Russia, an organization that Fetisov set up to promote mass sport, and was considered Fetisov's favored candidate in the election. Fetisov, however, noticeably failed to support Rodnina's candidacy at Thursday's meeting.

Rodnina said after the result was announced that the elections had not been democratic and that administrative resources had been used to defeat her.

Relations between Tyagachyov and Fetisov have been strained since Fetisov, a former NHL hockey star, was invited by President Vladimir Putin to take over as sports minister in 2002.