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Georgia votes unanimously to compete in Sochi

May 2, 2013, 9:53 AM EDT

AP Photo/Georgy Abdaladze AP Photo/Georgy Abdaladze

Following the lead of Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, the country’s Olympic Committee decided in a unanimous vote Thursday that its athletes would be allowed to compete in the 2014 Sochi Games next February.

“I congratulate everyone that Georgian athletes will compete at the Olympic Games,” Georgian Olympic Committee president Leri Khabelov said.

The two countries have been at odds since a brief war over separatist South Ossetia back in 2008, and Georgia’s previous Prime Minister had threatened to boycott the Games, which will sit about eight miles from the Georgian border.

But Ivanishvili has sought to improve dealings with Russia since taking power in October, and said that competing in the Olympics is necessary if Georgia wants to have “normal relations” with its neighbors.

Russia suffered through a boycott at their last hometown Games when 65 countries, including the United States, sat out the 1980 Moscow Olympics in protest.

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