Source AP ©

Putin to visit Guatemala for IOC vote on 2014 Winter Olympics

Vladimir Putin will travel to to Guatemala to back Sochi's bid to host the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Sochi is competing against Salzburg, Austria, and Pyeongchang, South Korea. The winner will be selected on July 4 at an International Olympic Committee assembly in Guatemala City.

Putin will travel to Guatemala on a working visit July 3-4, the Kremlin said Thursday in a statement.

The Black Sea resort of Sochi seeks to bring the Winter Games to Russia for the first time, and it has strong support from Putin. In a report issued earlier this month, the IOC gave Sochi a cautionary evaluation.

Austrian Chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer will also travel to Guatemala for the vote, Austrian officials said.

The presence of British Prime Minister Tony Blair at the IOC session in Singapore in 2005 was seen as a key factor in London's victory for the 2012 Summer Games. Russia was the only country that did not send its leader to the vote to support Moscow's bid.

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