January 19 - Jean-Claude Killy, French chairman of the International Olympic Committee (IOC)'s Coordination Commission for Sochi 2014, has advised François Hollande, the French President, to attend one of the ceremonies attached to the Paralympic Games, to be staged by the Russian Black Sea resort in March.
Killy, a former skiing star, made the disclosure in an interview with Le Monde, the highbrow French news organisation.
"I have advised President Hollande to come to the Ceremony of the Paralympic Games in Sochi," he said, adding: "There is no sophisticated reasoning behind that, just a message of openness."
Hollande is among the most prominent of a list of world political leaders who have indicated they will be missing from Sochi 2014.
Others include United States President Barack Obama, British and Israeli Prime Ministers David Cameron and Benjamin Netanyahu, and German President Joachim Gauck.
Several foreign politicians have openly criticised the introduction of a controversial new law banning propaganda of "non-traditional" sexual relations to minors by Russian President Vladimir Putin last year.
Hollande's diplomatic démarches are likely to be particularly closely scrutinised by Olympic specialists, with France widely thought to be mulling a bid by Paris for the 2024 Games.
If it does put itself forward, the French capital could turn out to be the biggest obstacle in the path of a return of the Olympics to the United States, whose broadcasters and corporations remain the Movement's biggest paymasters.
The Italian city of Rome is another being watched for signs that it might decide to throw its hat into the ring.
Killy told Le Monde he was sorry that the likes of Hollande and Obama would be absent from the Winter Olympics, since "this event is an opportunity to engage in dialogue in the sort of relaxed atmosphere that heads of state rarely encounter.
"It's the ideal place to discuss human, social or economic affairs," Killy continued, arguing that pragmatism was necessary "if we want to export, keep our factories open".
He revealed that former President Nicolas Sarkozy had hesitated to attend the opening of the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
"I explained to him that the Chinese would take 50 years to forget that he hadn't come, whereas his visit would further the cause of human rights there."
Asked directly about Russia's anti-gay law, Killy observed that the IOC had "noticed that 72 IOC member countries had a similar law, which sometimes goes as far as the death penalty, and that we have very warm relations with some of these countries".
Killy, who has visited Sochi on many occasions during his stint as Coordination Commission head, said he and President Putin had become "pals".
He said the two of them "discuss everything, even if I can't say any more about it.
"His international reputation does not reflect what I see when I work with him."
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December 2013: French President Hollande and Government officials to miss Sochi 2014
October 2013: French must stop showing "arrogance" if Paris bid for 2024 Olympics is not to fail again, warns Killy
September 2013: Positive feedback for Russia following final Sochi 2014 IOC Coordination Commission inspection
August 2013: IOC receives "strong" reassurances from Russia following anti-gay bill debacle