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Russian athletes to learn English before Sochi Olympics

Jul 10, 2013, 7:59 AM EDT

Sochi 2014 AP

Russia is pulling out all the stops ahead of the 2014 Olympics, including foreign-language training.

Athletes selected for the 2014 and 2016 Games will get the chance to learn English from an English First program, according to Russian reports.

The Kremlin hopes the Sochi Olympics will improve Russia’s image abroad, and the ability for its athletes to speak English will aid the cause, opined the Moscow Times.

“Our Olympians need English to travel to training camps, communicate with colleagues and give interviews to foreign press,” Russian Olympic Committee president Alexander Zhukov said in an English First statement.

The company ranks Russia 29th out of a pool of 54 countries in English proficiency, worse than any of the European nations included and one spot below Iran.

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