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A stray dog wanders through Olympic Park ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics, Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
Sochi's stray dogs harass cross-country skiers
First Published Feb 07 2014 07:21 am • Last Updated Feb 25 2014 04:39 pm

Sochi, Russia • Sochi’s stray dogs keep popping up in unwanted places, this time on the cross-country skiing track.

In another incident that highlights the possibility of the uncontrolled animals interrupting an Olympic event, a dog was filmed by a Russian website barking at skiers at the Laura Cross-Country Ski and Biathlon center during Thursday’s training session. As skiers turned their heads in surprise, the dog walked alongside the track while three security guards watched a few meters away.

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Pelle Johansson, a Swedish newspaper journalist who was by the finish area at the time, said the dog later walked down into the stadium, where a number of skiers were training, and marked his territory next to the main bleachers.

"He stayed out of the skiers’ way," Johansson said Friday. "He was very calm."

Thousands of stray dogs live in and around Sochi, and have already been spotted in the Olympic Stadium, inside security zones and even in a hotel. Local organizers declined to give details on their measures for preventing a similar incident during a race, but said any dogs found on an Olympic venue are captured and given a full veterinary check, then released if healthy.

U.S. cross-country skier Kikkan Randall, one of the favorites in the women’s individual sprint, said she hasn’t seen any dogs during her training sessions — "or any other wildlife" — and wasn’t worried they might interrupt the races.

"I grew up in Alaska where you have to be prepared for a moose running out of the forest," Randall said. "So I feel like I’m ready for anything."

— By Mattias Karen — Twitter http://twitter.com/mattekaren




Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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