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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Putin Meets Advisors to Discuss Olympics

ReutersPresident Vladimir Putin holding the 1980 Olympic torch, presented to him Saturday during a visit to an aircraft engine factory in St. Petersburg.
President Vladimir Putin met with high-placed government officials in the Kremlin on Friday in connection with preparations for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.

"The president is continuing to pay a lot of attention to the issue of Olympic preparations," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Friday.

Speculation swirled in the media that Putin -- who experts say played a vital role in securing the right to host the Games -- was just days away from naming the head of the organizing committee.

"Friday's meeting with high-placed members of the government and other departments was not ceremonial; it was a work meeting," Peskov added.

Media reports have linked several names to the prestigious post, and the current front-runner is thought to be Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov, who was chairman of the government's Sochi 2014 supervisory board.

Dmitry Chernyshenko, the CEO and face of the bid committee, hinted at an interview in June that he would like to have a role in the organizing committee.

Media reports have named Federal Agency for Physical Culture and Sports head Vyacheslav Fetisov, Krasnodar Governor Alexander Tkachyov, and even Putin, whose term ends in March, as other possible candidates.

Under International Olympic Committee rules, Russia has five months from the July 4 election date to register the composition of the Sochi organizing committee.