Ukrainian and Russian wrestlers and team officials meet before action gets underway at the LA World Cup // photo courtesy Tony Rotundo, FILA-Official.com

Ukrainian and Russian wrestlers and team officials meet before action gets underway at the LA World Cup // photo courtesy Tony Rotundo, FILA-Official.com

Wrestling

Wrestling’s handshake moment

Russia put troops on the Ukrainian mainland for the first time Saturday, deploying 80 soldiers along with four helicopter gunships and three armored vehicles to seize a natural gas terminal distribution station near Crimea.

Crimea is set to vote Sunday whether to secede from Ukraine and join Russia. Ukraine’s government and Western governments have denounced the vote as illegal.

eam leaders Christakis Alexandridis of Russia (right) and Eduard Nosadchyy of Ukraine shares smiles over dinner in the Team Dining Room, prior to the 2014 FILA Men’s Freestyle World Cup of Wrestling. // photo courtesy USA Wrestling

eam leaders Christakis Alexandridis of Russia (right) and Eduard Nosadchyy of Ukraine shares smiles over dinner in the Team Dining Room, prior to the 2014 FILA Men’s Freestyle World Cup of Wrestling. // photo courtesy USA Wrestling

Wrestling

Wrestling: now, the spotlight

Russia massed troops and armored vehicles Thursday in at least three regions along Ukraine’s eastern border, the New York Times reported.

In Washington, the Obama Administration deferred a request from Ukraine’s interim government for arms and ammunition, the Wall Street Journal reported.

A tableau from the closing ceremony -- brides hanging from helium-filled balloons

A tableau from the closing ceremony -- brides hanging from helium-filled balloons

Sochi 2014

“The new face of Russia”

ADLER, Russia — The Sochi 2014 Winter Games drew Sunday night to a close, an Olympics intent on projecting the image of a strong and confident new Russia across this vast country and to the world beyond, with a mighty Russian team awakening the echoes of the mighty Soviet sport system to prideful spectator cheers of “Ro-ssi-ya! Ro-ssi-ya!”

Albeit, over 17 days, to the beat of “Get Lucky” by a Russian police choir. And cheerful volunteers yelling, “Good morning!” while dancing to the Black Eyed Peas.

A scene from early in Friday's "Dreams of Russia"

A scene from early in Friday's "Dreams of Russia"

Sochi 2014

Putin’s big “Dreams about Russia”

ADLER, Russia — In a ceremony entitled “Dreams about Russia,” the Sochi 2014 Olympics got underway, arguably the most controversial and contentious Winter Games in history, as much a referendum on modern Russia as celebration of the best in winter sports.

“Welcome to the center of the universe!” Russian TV star Yana Churikova shouted to kick off the evening, touching off a show that veered through the centuries amid the strains of classical music, the thump of dance music and the crash and boom of fireworks that lit the night sky.

IOC president Thomas Bach and Russian president Vladimir Putin Tuesday in Sochi // photo courtesy Russian president's office

IOC president Thomas Bach and Russian president Vladimir Putin Tuesday in Sochi // photo courtesy Russian president's office

Sochi 2014

Bach: not a stage “to score points”

SOCHI, Russia — We all make choices. Those choices hold consequences. A few weeks back, the president of the United States opted in his choice of the White House delegation to the 2014 Winter Games not to include even one senior American political figure but, in an obvious protest of Russia’s law against gay “propaganda,” to send, among others, the tennis legend Billie Jean King.

In a blunt address Tuesday night opening the 126th session of the International Olympic Committee, with the president of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, on hand, the new IOC president, Thomas Bach, declared, “People have a very good understanding of what it really means to single out the Olympic Games to make an ostentatious gesture which allegedly costs nothing but produces international headlines.”